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All-female racing league launched

All-female racing league launched


The W Racing series will use Formula 3 cars and have a prize pot of £1.14m

A new single-seat racing series specifically for women will launch next year.

Named the W Series, it aims to narrow the gap between men and women in motorsport and push more female drivers towards the upper echelons of Formula 1.

The W Series will use Formula 3 single-seat racing cars and comprise of six, 30-minute races. Currently the series is limited to Europe, but has ambitions to expand to Australia, Asia and across the Atlantic.

Drivers do not need to be sponsored to enter the series. Instead, prospective competitors are invited to prove their skills to a panel of judges including ex-F1 driver David Coulthard, former team manager Dave Ryan and designer Adrian Newey.

They must also have passed a ‘rigorous pre-selection programme’ involving testing both on and off the track.

Prize money is awarded down to 18th place, and the overall winner will take home $500,000 (£380,000) in total.

The introduction of the series has met with criticism, however, with several women claiming that the W series is a regressive step.

Former IndyCar driver Pippa Mann expressed her disappointment on Twitter, saying:

“What a sad day for motorsport. Those with funding to help female racing drivers are choosing to segregate them as opposed to supporting them.”

However, Mann did not condemn those who choose to compete, saying:

“For the record, I stand WITH those who feel forced into this as their only opportunity to race. I stand AGAINST those who are forcing the above mentioned racers into this position as their only solution to find the funding to race.”

The series’ mission statement on its website reads:

“Professional female athletes are strong, powerful, fit, fast, skilled, determined and ambitious, and have remarkable stamina. W Series’ mission is to give those remarkable athletes an opportunity in motorsport that we feel hasn’t been available to them before now. “We believe anyone with talent, passion and commitment should have a chance to race at the pinnacle of motorsport. We’re here to create those chances, to open doors and fuel our future.”

The site also contains several comments of support, with F1 pit lane presenter Natalie Pinkham, F1 driver Kevin Magnussen and chair of the All-Party Parliamentary Motor Group Richard Burden MP all expressing their approval of the new series.

The W Series is planned to start in May 2019.