W Series, the international single-seater motor racing championship for female drivers, concluded a productive week of pre-season testing at the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya, Spain on Friday.
The 20 drivers who attended the test completed a total of 2,342 laps and 10,949 kilometres (6,792 miles) between them during the three days. The 4.675km (2.9 miles) circuit with 16 turns provided the drivers with a rigorous test, and dry weather in north-east Spain meant a full three days of running and ideal preparation for the 2022 W Series season, which begins in support of Formula 1’s inaugural Miami Grand Prix at the Miami International Autodrome between 6-8 May.
The drivers were split into two pools of 10 and, after being fitted for their seats in W Series’ Tatuus T-318 Formula 3 race cars, the first group began Wednesday’s opening day in overcast but mild conditions. Among the group one runners was two-time defending W Series champion Jamie Chadwick (UK, 23), who gave her new Jenner Racing Team’s black and gold race car its on-track debut. She was joined on the circuit by nine other drivers on Wednesday and Thursday morning, including W Series rookies Tereza Babickova (CZE, 18), Léna Bühler (SWI, 24), and Emely De Heus (NED, 19).
Thursday afternoon saw the second pool of drivers take over on track while, off it, the Quantfury W Series Team was announced, and the ‘W Series x Circuit Barcelona-Catalunya: Changing the Face of Sport’ event brought together organisations and individuals committed to the promotion of women in sport, business, and culture. Panellists included Catherine Bond Muir (Chief Executive Officer, W Series), Neus Santamaria (Race Director, Euroformula Open), Maura Everett (Senior Brand Strategist, Women’s Performance, Puma), and racing drivers Naomi Schiff and Berta Abellan.
The weather was cold but bright on Thursday afternoon for the group two runners, which included the other members of last season’s top three, Alice Powell and Emma Kimiläinen, driving for their new teams – Click2Drive Bristol Street Motors Racing and Puma respectively – for the first time. Among the eight other drivers joining them on track were debutants Bianca Bustamante (PHI, 17), Chloe Chambers (USA, 17), Juju Noda (JPN, 16) and Jem Hepworth (UK, 21).
Having taken part in the test for prospective drivers at the Inde Motorsports Ranch, Arizona, USA, last month, Jem was a late addition to the Barcelona testing line-up after it was agreed that Irina Sidorkova (RUS, 18) would not take part in the test due to the current uncertainty and ever-changing situation. The 2022 W Series driver line-up, and a decision about Irina’s future participation in W Series, will be announced in due course.
The group two runners brought the test to a close on Friday, when this season’s fifth team – the CortDAO W Series Team – was announced. The final day brought overcast conditions, but the forecasted rain showers stayed away meaning the wet weather tyres supplied by W Series’ Official Tyre Partner, Hankook, stayed in their blankets.
Along with other W Series partners Heineken, Puma, and Acronis, the countdown now begins to the opening round of season three, which will see W Series race at four circuits in Europe, three in the Americas and, for the first time, one in Asia in October when W Series will support F1’s Japanese Grand Prix at Suzuka.