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W Series confirms 2022 line-up, five new drivers to join

W Series has confirmed its 2022 line up, with five new drivers making their championship debut.

Emma Kimilainen, leads Jamie Chadwick, Abbi Pulling, and the rest of the field at the start

17 full-time drivers have been named, including eight who qualified automatically for this season by finishing in the top eight in the 2021 championship standings.

Juju Noda, Tereza Babickova, Bianca Bustamante, Chloe Chambers and Emely De Heus will make their debuts, having been selected during pre-season tests at the Inde Motorsports Ranch in Arizona and at the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya.

Noda, the daughter of 1990s Formula 1 driver Hideki Noda, is the youngest driver to take part, aged just 16.

Two-time champion Jamie Chadwick previously confirmed her return to the series, along with 2021 runner-up Alice Powell.

Other returnees include Fabienne Wohlwend, Beitske Visser, Bruna Tomaselli and Sarah Moore.

Abbi Pulling, who was as a reserve driver last season and went on to achieve her first podium at the Austin season finale, will also have a full-time seat.

Russian driver Irina Sidorkova, who was due to return for a second season as a W Series Academy member, will not compete in W Series until further notice.

The W Series season opener takes place in support of the first Formula 1 Miami Grand Prix from 6-8 May.

Nerea Marti, W Series, COTA

Nerea Marti, W Series, COTA

Photo by: Zak Mauger / Motorsport Images

The eight-race calendar will see the series race across three continents, staging its first ever Asian round at Suzuka in October.

Racing Director Dave Ryan said: "As the profile of W Series grows, the talent pool and standard of our driver line-up increases, and the 2022 W Series grid is the strongest yet. This year, we expanded our driver search and testing programme by staging pre-season tests in both the USA and Europe, and that decision has paid dividends.

“The class of 2022 represents 10 different countries, and more than a quarter of the grid are new talents making their W Series debut. The five rookies are well-prepared and join a group of proven W Series performers who know what it’s all about. In the spirit of W Series, they will all drive each other forwards.

"Double W Series champion Jamie Chadwick will certainly be aiming to mount a strong title defence, but she was pushed all the way in 2021 and I expect another close battle for the title.

“As we stage Formula 1 support races in three continents this season, the opportunity for W Series drivers in 2022 is unprecedented. It will be interesting to see how they all handle the pressure of racing on motorsport's greatest stage, and I'm looking forward to the first race of the season in Miami in May."

The 17 drivers confirmed for the 2022 W Series season are as follows:

Tereza Babickova, CZE, 18
Bianca Bustamante, PHI, 17
Jamie Chadwick, UK, 23
Chloe Chambers, USA, 17
Emely De Heus, NED, 19
Belén García, ESP, 22
Marta Garcia, ESP, 21
Jessica Hawkins, UK, 27
Emma Kimiläinen, FIN, 32
Nerea Martí, ESP, 20
Sarah Moore, UK, 28
Juju Noda, JPN, 16
Alice Powell, UK, 29
Abbi Pulling, UK, 18
Bruna Tomaselli, BRA, 24
Beitske Visser, NED, 26
Fabienne Wohlwend, LIE, 24

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