W Series eSport League announced
Updated: May 20
W Series launches its own virtual championship - the first ever 100% female simracing series. The W Series Esport Leaugue will feature the real racing drivers and a seriously impressive calendar.
After one exceptionally successful year, the women-only W Series was set for a second ground-breaking racing season, with plenty of interesting talking points and new additions, such as bright newcomers and two rounds in conjunction with Formula 1.
Obviously, the COVID-19 global pandemic has put everything on hold and has left the entire motorsport community with no on-track action as global sporting events were immediately affected and championship promoters tried to figure out a recovery plan.
In the midst of such an unprecedented crisis, racing series quickly found a temporary solution that could provide entertainment in such difficult times and engage race fans, drivers, as well as sponsors.
Formula 1 created its own officially licensed online series, followed by most of the professional championships: Indycar, NASCAR, Supercars, Formula 2, Formula E - everyone involved most of their real-life line-ups in their virtual competitions, hosted on the most famous simracing platforms.
W Series is now the latest championship to announce its official Esport League, as the innovative single seater championship will launch the first ever all-female simracing league.
Partnering Logitech G (a global leader in PC and console gaming gear), Beyond Entertainment (a hosting community specialized in high-profile tournaments) and iRacing (the leading racing simulation platform), W Series Esports League will once again put female racers in the limelight.
Those who had the chance to follow the rise of simracing during the past quarantine weeks, might in fact have noticed how disproportionaly male-dominated Esport grids are - with the exceptions of few real-world racers joining the fields.
W Series Esport League will thus encourage more women and girls to take up Esports, opening up more opportunities in a fast-growing sector.
"It is no secret that women in particular are under-represented in esports and, by collaborating with W Series, Beyond is proud to continue working as a positive force for change in the esports industry." - commented Joseph Bentley, Head of Beyond Entertainment at Logitech.
"We are excited to partner with W Series to deliver high-stakes sim racing competitions designed to showcase the best women drivers across the globe."
"In the absence of on-track racing anywhere in the world, as a result of the ongoing global COVID-19 crisis, we at W Series are pleased to announce the inauguration of our own W Series Esports League." - said Catherine Bond Muir, CEO of W Series.
"I'm extremely impressed by the work that has been done to put it together, in record time, by ourselves and by our partners Logitech, Beyond Entertainment and iRacing, in association with our principal sponsor ROKiT Phones, and I’m confident that the result will be a difficult yet exciting challenge for our drivers and an innovative yet thrilling spectacle for fans watching on YouTube, on Twitch, and on other streaming platforms dedicated to online gaming."
All the 18 official drivers are expected to take part in the online competitions, with some of them having already appeared in several simracing events: while Jamie Chadwick, Beitske Visser, Fabienne Wohlwend, Ayla Agren, Abbie Eaton and Belen Garcia could be found on the grids of some of the most followed online races, nobody really knows how much time the rest of the W Series ladies have so far spent on their sim rigs and on the iRacing platform, creating a lot of anticipation for the opening round.
Furthermore, W Series revealed that additional female racing drivers might be invited in guest entries.
The 10-rounds schedule includes some legendary race circuits: from the Temple of Speed of Monza to Spa Francorchamps; from Brands Hatch - home of last year's W Series thrilling season finale - to COTA, where the championship is expected to race later this year.
More iconic tracks on the calendar are Silverstone, Interlagos, Suzuka, Watkins Glen, Bathurst and the Nürburgring Nordschleife - the ultimate racing venue for motorsport fans.
W Series drivers will race in the virtual version of the Tatuus Formula Renault 2.0 car, similar in performance to the Tatuus T-318 car employed in the real series.
The events format will feature up to three races at each circuit, with most of the races having their grids set by separate qualifying sessions. To replicate the successful Assen experiment, though, some races will start with the championship standings reverse-grid.
Championship points will be awarded at each race, then crowning the first ever W Series Esport League champion.
"Nothing beats the sheer thrill of driving a real race car flat-out on a real racetrack, and I don't mind admitting I'm missing that enormously." - said reigning champion Jamie Chadwick.
"But I’ve been massively impressed by the work that W Series, Logitech, Beyond Entertainment and iRacing have done together over the past few weeks, and the result, the W Series Esports League, is seriously impressive."
"Moreover, when I saw the list of circuits, I literally gasped: it's a truly mouth-watering schedule. So you can be well sure I'll be practising hard from now until the first W Series Esports League race. It won't be easy to continue my winning form – I respect all the W Series drivers and I know how keen they'll all be to do well – but I’ll definitely be giving it my best shot. Bring it on!"
So far, no date has been confirmed yet, with the first round set to kick off in "the coming weeks". Until then, we can surely expect the drivers to spend a good share of their days training at the simulator, preparing for the unexpected but welcomed championship before the championship.
UPDATE: The 10-weeks championship will start on 11th June with the opening race at Monza and will provide simracing action until 13th August, when the Silverstone season finale is expected to take place. Every race will be contested on Thurdsays, 19:00 British time (20:00 CET). Races will be streamed live on the series Twitch, Youtube and Facebook channels.
W Series Esport League Calendar
Thu 11 June - Autodromo Nazionale di Monza (Italy)
Thu 18 June - Circuit of the Americas, Austin (USA)
Thu 25 June - Brands Hatch Grand Prix Circuit (UK)
Thu 2 July - Autódromo José Carlos Pace, Interlagos (Brazil)
Thu 9 July - Circuit de Spa-Francorchamps (Belgium)
Thu 16 July - Watkins Glen International (USA)
Thu 23 July - Suzuka International Racing Course (Japan)
Thu 30 July - Mount Panorama Circuit, Bathurst (Australia)
Thu 6 August - Nürburgring Nordschleife (Germany)
Thu 13 August - Silverstone Grand Prix Circuit (UK)