W Series releases longlist of 55 drivers for 2019 18-car grid

The all-female W Series has released a list of 55 contenders for a spot on the 18-driver grid for its inaugural campaign in 2019

W Series releases longlist of 55 drivers for 2019 18-car grid

The championship, backed by the likes of grand prix winner David Coulthard and esteemed Formula 1 technical chief Adrian Newey, was announced in October with a $1.5 million prize fund and no budget requirements from prospective participants.

It is set to be held over six rounds in 2019, running in support of the DTM, and use F3-specification Tatuus T-318 machinery.

The organisers say they have been contacted by "more than 100 applicants from 30 countries around the world", from which the current 'long-list' was selected.

"We are thrilled but perhaps not surprised by the response," series CEO Catherine Bond Muir said.

"Even today there is a massive gender imbalance in motorsport and W Series is making the first step to correct that.

"Drivers from all over the world have stepped forward, so it's clear that with the right framework we can make the changes this sport desperately needs."

BMW-backed former Red Bull junior Beitske Visser, ex-Renault Sport Academy driver Marta Garcia, former Lotus F1 tester Carmen Jorda and British GT class champion Jamie Chadwick are among the highest-profile names in the initial roster, which includes racers from a wide array of categories.

Alongside Jorda are fellow former GP3 full-timers Vicky Piria, Samin Gomez and Alice Powell, the latter a champion in Formula Renault UK and Asia categories.

A number of sportswomen with entry-level open-wheel experience from various F4 categories have also applied.

The USA racing scene is represented by several names from the Road to Indy, among them one-time F1600 champion Ayla Agren.

There also competitors from other forms of American circuit racing, most notably 21-year-old Natalie Decker, who made headlines by taking pole for the ARCA opener at the Daytona oval earlier this year.

Former single-seater and STCC driver Emma Kimilainen and Lamborghini Super Trofeo racer Shea Holbrook are some of the more experienced drivers in the list.

Also featuring is Sarah Moore, who won the BTCC-supporting Ginetta Junior series all the way back in 2009.

This list is to be whittled down to a final grid of 18 after "a three-day on-and-off-track trial" and a subsequent series of track tests with the W Series car.

The selection panel will include Coulthard, series racing director Dave Ryan and former F1 driver Alex Wurz.

Powell, Piria, Holbrook, Kimilainen, Naomi Schiff and Stephane Kox will represent the series in ambassadorial roles during this weekend's Autosport Awards in London.

W Series driver pool

Driver Nationality Age Background
Ayla Agren Norway 25 Road to Indy, F1600 (champion)
Amna Al Qubaisi UAE 18 Italian F4
Chelsea Angelo Australia 22 Supercars Development Series
Carmen Boix Gil Spain 22 NASCAR Whelen Euro
Sarah Bovy Belgium 29 Lamborghini Super Trofeo
Toni Breidinger United States 19 USAC Midget, ARCA
Ivana Cetinich South Africa 22 Kart racing
Jamie Chadwick United Kingdom 20 British F3, British GT (GT4 champion)
Veronika Cicha Czech Republic 31 Boss GP
Sabre Cook United States 24 Road to Indy, US F4
Courtney Crone United States 17 Formula Car Challenge
Natalie Decker United States 21 ARCA
Mira Erda India 18 JK Tyre Championship
Carlotta Fedeli Italy 26 TCR
Cassie Gannis United States 27 NASCAR K&N
Marta Garcia Spain 18 Spanish F4
Michelle Gatting Denmark 24 Danish Supertourisme
Angelique Germann Germany 27 Austrian F3
Megan Gilkes Canada 17 F1200 Canada
Samin Gomez Venezuela 26 GP3
Grace Gui China 27 Asian Formula Renault
Michelle Halder Germany 19 TCR Germany
Esmee Hawkey United Kingdom 20 Porsche Carrera Cup GB
Jessica Hawkins United Kingdom 23 Mini Challenge
Shea Holbrook United States 28 Lamborghini Super Trofeo
Carmen Jorda Spain 30 GP3
Vivien Keszthelyi Hungary 17 Audi SS R8 Cup
Emma Kimilainen Finland 29 STCC
Natalia Kowalska Poland 28 Formula Two
Stephane Kox Netherlands 24 GT4 European
Miki Koyama Japan 21 Japanese F4
Fabienne Lanz South Africa 32 Kart racing
Milla Makela Finland 25 Finnish Formula Ford
Alexandra Marinescu Romania 18 British F4
Milou Mets Netherlands 28 LMV8 Oval Series
Sheena Monk United States 29 Lamborghini Super Trofeo
Sarah Moore United Kingdom 25 LMP3, Ginetta Junior (champion)
Marylin Niederhauser Germany 22 GT4 European
Tasmin Pepper South Africa 28 VW Engen Polo Cup
Vicky Piria Italy 25 GP3, European F3 Open
Taegen Poles Canada 20 Kart racing
Alice Powell United Kingdom 25 GP3, Formula Renault UK (champion)
Charlotte Poynting Australia 20 Aussie Racing Cars
Naomi Schiff Belgium 24 Formula Renault 2.0, GT4 European
Carrie Schreiner Germany 20 Lamborghini Super Trofeo (Middle East Pro-Am champion)
Sharon Scolari Switzerland 23 Formula Renault 2.0
Doreen Seidel Germany 33 VW Scirocco, GT4 European
Siti Shahkirah Malaysia 24 F4 SEA
Sneha Sharma India 28 JK Tyre Championship
Bruna Tomaselli Brazil 21 Road to Indy
Shirley van der Lof Netherlands 32 German F3
Beitske Visser Netherlands 23 Formula Renault 3.5, GT4 European
Fabienne Wohlwend Liechtenstein 21 Ferrari Europe
Caitlin Wood Australia 21 Blancpain GT
Hanna Zellers United States 21 US F4, IMSA Prototype Challenge


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