Wednesday, Dec 08

W Series Goes Bigger in Texas for Spectacular Season Finale

Wednesday, Sep 29 937

W Series, the international single-seater motor racing championship for female drivers, will conclude its 2021 season with a double-header at the Circuit of the Americas, Austin, Texas, USA. The series’ seventh and eighth rounds of the season – and first races to be staged outside of Europe – will take place on 23 and 24 October in support of F1's United States Grand Prix.

 

There is nothing conventional about the city where ‘Keep Austin Weird’ is emblazoned on souvenirs, and nor is there anything conventional about W Series. Launched in October 2018, W Series is a free-to-enter motor racing championship, which provides equal opportunities for women and eliminates the financial barriers that have historically prevented them from progressing to the upper tiers of motorsport.

 

The series aims to push aside stereotypes and change the face of motorsport, believing that women and men can race one another on equal terms provided they are given the same opportunity. It is 45 years since a female driver last started a Championship Formula 1 Grand Prix and, unless a positive intervention is made, it could be another 45 years before a woman has the experience and qualifications to start a Championship Formula 1 Grand Prix again.

 

Drivers do not have to pay to race in W Series. They are selected purely on their ability rather than how rich their backers are. The series’ cars are mechanically identical and therefore set up to remove any hardware advantage from the competition. This means that W Series races and championships will be won by the most talented drivers, rather than those with the wealthiest backers and the fastest cars.

 

Almost three years since the series was born, this will be the first W Series round to be staged outside of Europe. After six rounds this season, Alice Powell (Racing X, GBR) and Jamie Chadwick (Veloce Racing, GBR) are level on 109 points at the top of the W Series championship standings, with Alice one place higher than the defending champion by virtue of having one more race victory than Jamie this season (three wins to two). Emma Kimiläinen (Ecurie W, FIN) is third in the table, 34 points behind Alice and Jamie with a maximum 50 points available from the two remaining races of the season at COTA.

 

As well as that leading trio, all eyes will be on Jessica Hawkins (Racing X, GBR), who makes her big-screen debut as a stunt driver in the new James Bond film, No Time to Die, which will be released in the USA on 8 October, a fortnight before the COTA round. Jessica is in fine form on-track too, scoring the best result of her W Series career (fifth) at the previous race at Zandvoort, Netherlands, on 4 September.

 

There will be plenty of support for Sabré Cook (Bunker Racing, USA), W Series’ sole American driver, for whom the site of her home race will always hold fond memories. The 27-year-old from Colorado won the 2018 Renault Infiniti Engineering Academy competition at COTA and, on the same weekend, raced in the SCCA Formula 4 U.S. Championship there.

 

Ayla Agren (M. Forbes Motorsport, NOR) is also familiar to US audiences. The 28-year-old was born in Norway but has lived in Houston, Texas, for several years, racing on the Road to Indy programme, driving the IndyCar safety car and working as a spotter at numerous events, including the Indy 500. Of the 18 women on the grid, only W Series’ two US-based drivers have previously been to the 3.426-mile (5.513 kilometres) Circuit of the Americas. Sabré has raced there three times, while Ayla has driven on the circuit but not raced there.

 

W Series’ full on-track schedule for the COTA weekend will be announced in due course. The action can be seen across W Series' digital and social channels, as well as being broadcast in more than 175 territories – including on beIN SPORTS in the USA – with a full list available at https://wseries.com/where-to-watch/.

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Quotes

 

Lyn St. James (First woman to win the Indianapolis 500 Rookie of the Year award; Had seven starts in the Indy 500, two class victories at the 24 Hours of Daytona and one at the 12 Hours of Sebring; Participated in the 24 Hours of Le Mans; former President of the Women’s Sports Foundation and advocate of women in motorsports worldwide):

“I’m very excited to be able to see the W Series drivers race in person at COTA. I met most of them when I was part of the selection committee prior to the opening season. To be able to see how they’ve progressed over a few short years, and see the new ones, will be very rewarding. I hope Sabré Cook, the driver from the U.S. and who I’ve followed since her karting days, has a couple of good races to close out what has been a frustrating season.

 

“One of the goals of W Series was to provide the drivers with the opportunity to race in quality cars with quality support which would fine-tune and showcase their talent, resulting in the drivers having the opportunity to race in other categories, which is exactly what has happened. I believe W Series has been a catalyst for other racing programs focused on women drivers. I love seeing the momentum that’s happening for women in racing around the world. The efforts of the FIA, W Series, the newly announced IMSA Driver Development Scholarship, ShiftUp Now, the IndyCar Race for Equality and Change, and the Next Gen Foundation are all examples of leaders in the sport taking action to help open doors for women in motorsports.”

 

Sabré Cook (W Series driver, Bunker Racing, USA):

“The Circuit of the Americas will always hold a special place in my heart. I raced in the SCCA Formula 4 U.S. Championship there, gaining 25 places across two races, on the same weekend in 2018 when I won the Renault Infiniti Engineering Academy competition. I love the people at COTA so it will be great to go back there again.

 

“W Series is the biggest opportunity I’ve had in my career and this season, supporting Formula 1, has been amazing, so to have the final round at home is very special. I’m extremely proud to be the only American on the W Series grid. It’s a great honour to represent the USA and doing so at COTA will be incredible. Lots of my friends and family will be coming or watching on TV and I’m excited for them to see what W Series has achieved in just its second season.

 

“Having W Series here is massive for the series and women’s motorsport in the USA. So many young American girls have started following W Series and lots of them have been in touch with me to say they are planning to go to COTA, and I know families who are taking their daughters to see W Series that weekend too. For those girls to see us on track is going to be really special and I hope we’ll inspire them to stick with it and continue to climb the motorsport ladder.”

 

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Sabré Cook, the only American driver in W Series in 2021; Driver for Bunker Racing

Ayla Agren (W Series driver, M. Forbes Motorsport, NOR):

“I am very much looking forward to W Series racing at COTA, just a couple of hours’ drive from Houston which has been my home for the last five years. Putting on a show is what it’s all about in Texas, so I know that W Series will have great fun that weekend and everyone here will embrace the series and what it stands for.

 

“Racing with W Series at COTA in support of the Formula 1 United States Grand Prix will be the highlight of my career so far. It will be a real pinch yourself moment and I can only compare the excitement and rush I’m feeling in the build-up to 2014 when I was fighting for the F1600 Championship Series title. Prior to this season, I’d never been to an F1 race before, so to now be part of it and sharing the stage with the best drivers in the world at COTA, a home race for me, is an incredible feeling.

 

“This could be a huge moment for women’s motorsport in the USA. Every time I come home, people ask me about W Series, and everyone is open-minded and intrigued by it. Racing outside of Europe for the first time will be a big boost for the series, and for the fans here to be able to engage with it, see the racing up close and see that it is proper racing will amplify the support for the series and women’s motorsport which already exists here. We can’t wait to put on a show!”

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Ayla Agren, W Series driver from Norway who currently lives in Houston; Driver for M. Forbes

Adam Sinclair

Adam has been a race fan since the first time he went through the tunnel under the Daytona International Speedway more than 30 years ago. He has had the privilege of traveling to races all across the state of Florida (as well as one race in Ohio), watching nearly everything with a motor compete for fame and glory, as well as participating in various racing schools to get the feel of what racecar drivers go through every week.  

Adam spent several years covering motorsports for Examiner.com., where he had the opportunity to see the racing world from behind the scenes as well as the grandstands. He invites everyone to follow him on Twitter, Facebook, and Google Plus, and looks forward to sharing his enthusiasm for all things racing with the readers of SpeedwayDigest.com.

Be sure to tune in for his sports talk program, Thursday Night Thunder, where he discusses the latest in motorsports news with drivers, crew members, and fans. The show takes place (almost) every Thursday at 8:00 pm EST on the Speedway Digest Radio Network. 

Contact Adam: Email  

  

 

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