Valencia to host 2021 W Series pre-season testing
The Spanish venue of Circuit Ricardo Tormo in Valencia will play host to the all-female championship W Series 5-day pre-season test in April.
The all-female F3 championship W Series announced its 2021 pre-season testing scheduled, with a five-day program set to get underway at Valencia's Ricardo Tormo Circuit between 26th to 30th April.
It will be the first time since the 2020 drivers' selection program - held in September 2019 - that the W Series Tatuus T-318 single seaters will hit the track, following the cancellation of all 2020 on-track activities due to the global pandemic.
W Series was also scheduled to run its pre-season tests in Valencia in 2020, but when the Covid19 crisis halted the world, the freshly-born championship was forced to scrap its 2020 season due to its international status. The 18 drivers set to race in the sophomore season last year made their return to the virtual racetracks following the launch of W Series Esports League, the iRacing-based competition which saw 2019 runner-up Beitske Visser taking the title in dominant fashion, ahead of Marta Garcia and Irina Sidorkova.
W Series kept its promises and will be back in 2021 for a "bigger and better" campaign, as announced by the series CEO Catherine Bond-Muir: by announcing an 8-events calendar in conjunction with Formula 1, W Series will step up its game in 2021, providing an even bigger platform to its race drivers.
"After the success of W Series' inaugural season in 2019, the disappointment of last year's enforced on-track hiatus and the excitement which followed the announcement of our new partnership with Formula 1, everybody at W Series is very much looking forward to our second season", said Bond-Muir.
"It will be contested by all of the drivers who should have raced with us in 2020, including W Series' reigning on-track champion Jamie Chadwick. I know that every one of them will be relishing the prospect of getting behind the wheel of our Tatuus T-318 Formula 3 race cars and being in a W Series paddock for the first time since the spectacular finale to our first season at Brands Hatch in August 2019."
Circuit Ricardo Tormo is one of the most well known testing facilities around Europe, as the Spanish track has been hosting F1 tests and several single-seater championships since its opening in 1999.
"The Circuit Ricardo Tormo is perfectly suited to testing Formula 3 cars." - said W Series racing director Dave Ryan.
"The tight and twisty layout is 2.488 miles [4.005km] in length and consists of one long straight and 14 corners. Few are trickier than Turn One – an 80-degree left-hander that requires precise but heavy braking. I know all of our drivers are eager to get going and work as hard as possible to prepare themselves for the 2021 season, and I expect to see some impressive performances from W Series' established stars and newcomers alike over the five days in Valencia."
Making their racing debut in 2021 will in fact be six new entries: Ayla Agren, Abbie Eaton, Bruna Tomaselli, Belen Garcia, Irina Sidorkova and Nerea Martí - the latter being a Valencia-native.
"Pre-season tests are always important, but this one is especially so given the extended period that our drivers have spent away from on-track action due to the Coronavirus pandemic", continued the former Mclaren F1 race director. "It is for that reason that we have set aside five days for this year's W Series pre-season test."
Inaugural series Champion Jamie Chadwick will be among the very few W Series drivers with 2020 race experience of the Tatuus F3 car, having raced in both the F3 Asian Championship and the Formula Regional European Championship. Vicky Piria also had the chance to contest two race weekends in the Formula Renault Eurocup.
Marta Garcia, Belen Garcia, Fabienne Wohlwend and Nerea Martí all managed to complete testing days in the same cars, but none of them entered single-seater races in 2020.
The first 2021 W Series race weekend will be on June 26th at Circuit Paul Ricard, as the championship will make its debut as a Formula 1 support series at the French Grand Prix.
2021 W Series provisional calendar:
Round 1 - Le Castellet, France - 26th June
Round 2 - Spielberg, Austria - 3 July
Round 3 - Silverstone, UK - 17 July
Round 4 - Budapest, Hungary - 31 July
Round 5 - Spa-Francorchamps, Belgium - 28 August
Round 6 - Zandvoort, Netherlands - 4 September
Round 7 - Austin, USA - 23 October
Round 8 - Mexico City, Mexico - 30 October