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If you are not familiar with the latest racing league in motorsports, the W Series, then you can be forgiven. The W Series was introduced in late 2018 after three years of planning with the aim to give women greater exposure in motorsports. Although women have been seen in NASCAR, IndyCar, and Formula One previously, the W Series hopes it will allow women to have a regular stage in motorsports and to move on to bigger and better things. Racing fans can predict the winners of races all season long betting on the Daytona races and more.
The W Series is an exciting automotive racing league, but will it give women more chances to excel in motorsports?
What is it?
The W Series is an 18-woman racing league featuring mechanically identical race cars based on the Tatuus T-318. The race car is a Formula 3 model with an Autotecnica Motori-tuned Alfa Romeo turbocharged engine.
Cars will use slick tires while having adjustable aerodynamic spoilers and wings. HALO safety devices will be used just like in Formula One.
The all-women, single seater competition will work to promote its best drivers to Formula One. The 2019 W Series Championship will offer a $1.5 million prize fund over the course of the six-race season. The W Series winner will receive $500,000 at the end of the competition.
The season started its engine in early May at the Hockenheimring in Germany. The race circuit will compete completely in Europe with the final race taking place in August in England.
Does motorsports need a women’s league?
There has been plenty of criticism over the W Series and much of it took place before the first race in May. Critics claim the series segregates women in motorsports and in the end will build walls between genders.
Despite the criticism, women are highly underrepresented in motorsports and the W Series wants to highlight the excellent female drivers in the world. How underrepresented are women in motorsports? Only five females have entered Formula One competitions since 1950. According to W Series CEO Catherine Bond Muir, motorsports needs a change and the league desires to spark that change.
While other motorsport leagues like IndyCar and NASCAR have had more recent female participants, Formula One has not. It has remained a boy’s sport at all levels.
W Series Structure
The 18 drivers competing in this year’s W Series were chosen from more than 100 women who entered to race. Drivers had to compete in various exams including driving skills tests, fitness appraisals, and psychometric evaluations. The selection of drivers almost seemed more like a reality television show than motorsports league.
The six races will follow a structure that covers two days. Race weekends will begin with two free practice sessions on Friday with qualifying taking place the next day. W Series races will then run on Saturday afternoons and last 30 minutes. The top 10 finishes will all earn points in the league standings.
Women’s racing could be changed forever with the W Series. However, it will take a lot for motorsports fans to tune in and take notice. It will take even more for a female driver to make the step up to Formula One.