W-Series: New candidates revealed
W-Series has announced the shortlist of the 14 candidates invited to next week’s Almeria test
As announced after the last championship round at Brands Hatch, W-Series will make its return next week, when on Monday 16th September the first test will be held at Almeria, Spain, to evaluate the new candidates for 2020 season.
While top-12 drivers from last year’s classify have gained automatic access to the grid, the remaining eight spots will be assigned next week after three days of testing in Spain, in a slightly different format from last year: more track time and simulator work will be on the schedule at the Andalusian racetrack.
14 drivers have been invited by the series organization among more than 40 applicants: they will be joined by vice-champion Beitske Visser and Miki Koyama, who will be in charge of posting reference lap times in order to evaluate the newcomers.
W-Series revealed that the three days test follows a first selection at the series simulator facility.
Several surprise names on the list: among them certainly the talented veteran Katherine Legge, a former Champcar and Indycar driver and current IMSA vice-champion.
The fourteen drivers that will be evaluated at Almeria are:
Abbie Eaton (UK);
Abbie Munro (UK);
Anna Inotsume (Japan);
Ayla Agren (Norway);
Belen Garcia (Spain);
Bruna Tomaselli (Brazil);
Chelsea Herbert (New Zealand);
Courtney Crone (USA);
Gabriela Jilkova (Czech Republic);
Hannah Grisham (USA);
Irina Sidorkova (Russia);
Katherine Legge (UK);
Michelle Gatting (Denmark);
Nerea Marti, (Spain).
“I was sceptical about W Series in the beginning but I’ve followed it throughout the 2019 season and I can honestly say that it has exceeded my expectations, so much so that I’m delighted to be taking part in the test event myself this weekend in Almeria.” – commented Katherine Legge.
Ayla Agren, Bruna Tomaselli and Courtney Crone will be back for a second chance after last year’s selections. Agren, who surprisingly did not make the cut in 2019, said: “I am really excited to have a second shot at the W series and I can’t wait to be back in an open-wheel car. A lack of budget has meant that I’ve had to sit out the last couple of seasons and to get a chance to have a full season with the W Series is exactly what my career needs.”
Brazilian Bruna Tomaselli has had a remarkable Road to Indy’s USF2000 campaign and will also attempt the selection, this time with more confidence and experience: “I am looking forward to the weekend ahead and I am grateful for another opportunity to test with W Series. I have had a strong 2019 season so far and I'm feeling better prepared than I was going into the W Series selection process last year.”
Among the long-awaited shortlist, other high-profiles names appear, such as Spanish F4 drivers Belen Garcia, Nerea Marti and Irina Sidorkova.
Garcia, a F4 race winner and among the anticipated names, commented: “I am really excited to have the opportunity to test for W Series. I know it won’t be easy to qualify but I’m positive that I am able to achieve it. I will give it my all and try to be the best version of myself.”
European Le Mans Series front-runner Michelle Gatting will also be among the attendees: “I am super-excited to join the W Series test in Almeria.” – said the Danish 25-year old, “I turned down the invitation last year due to my commitments with Kessel Racing and the Iron-Dames but I have followed W Series this season and I am impressed at how well it went. I am excited to test the Tatuus F3 T-318 since I never driven a car with so much downforce.”
Selections will once again be overseen by W-Series racing director Dave Ryan: “Almeria is a technical and unforgiving circuit and as such is a perfect stage for aspiring drivers to show us their talent. With Beitske and Miki both on hand to set reference laps, we will soon be able to see who has what it takes to join W Series next season.”
At the time being, the confirmed 2020 line-up sees: Jamie Chadwick, Beitske Visser, Alice Powell, Marta Garcia, Emma Kimilainen, Fabienne Wohlwend, Miki Koyama, Sarah Moore, Vicky Piria, Tasmin Pepper, Jessica Hawkins and Sabre Cook.
As previously reported, inaugural series champion Jamie Chadwick tested last Friday a Formula 3 Euroformula Open car at Silverstone and is still evaluating her near-future programs. Chadwick and Visser’s plans, though, might be influenced by W-Series being eligible for FIA Super Licence points from 2020.
Ph credits: W-Series media