W Series is coming home! This weekend, the UK-based, international all-female single-seater motor racing championship is heading to the track that proudly claims to be The Home of British Motor Racing – Silverstone – to race in front of up to 140,000 fans.
After the first two rounds of the season in Austria, the championship standings are a very British affair as Jamie Chadwick (Veloce Racing), Sarah Moore (Scuderia W) and Alice Powell (Racing X) occupy first, second and third respectively. There will be six British drivers on the starting grid for their home race on Saturday, as 18-year-old Abbi Pulling (PUMA W Series Team) makes her W Series debut alongside her mentor Alice, plus Jamie, Sarah, Jessica Hawkins (Racing X) and Abbie Eaton (Ecurie W).
W Series' drivers – like their F1 counterparts – will race on the Silverstone Grand Prix Circuit, which is 3.660 miles (5.891 kilometres) long and the second fastest track on the F1 calendar after Monza in Italy. The 18 drivers competing this weekend represent 11 different countries and half of them have competed at Silverstone previously. All of them have their sights on a successful career in the sport and would like to follow in the footsteps of Italian Lella Lombardi, the first and last female driver to compete in a Formula 1 World Championship race at Silverstone 46 years ago on 19 July 1975.
The W Series schedule for this weekend sees the drivers out on track for a practice session on Friday 16 July from 11.00 to 11.30 (local time, BST), followed by qualifying from 16.05 to 16.35 on the same day. The race of 30 minutes plus one lap will start at 13.25 on Saturday 17 July, just before Formula 1 makes history by staging its first ever Sprint Qualifying – a 100-kilometre race to decide the grid for Sunday's British Grand Prix.
British fans can watch the third round of the 2021 W Series season live from Silverstone on Channel 4 from 13.05 on Saturday. The action can also be seen across W Series' digital and social channels and is broadcast in more than 175 territories, with a full list available at https://wseries.com/where-to-watch/.
David Coulthard (Two-time F1 British Grand Prix winner, BRDC President and W Series Advisory Board Chairman) said:
"Silverstone is a great all-round challenge for a racing driver and a circuit which gets the heart racing because it is so fast and flowing. The layout has changed a bit since I won there in 1999 and 2000, but it continues to reward drivers who really commit to the lap. I can't wait to see W Series' drivers attack it, and the 30-minute plus one lap race format lends itself to overtaking as there is simply no time for holding back. They will all be raring to go after producing some great racing at the first two rounds in Austria, and the capacity crowd at Silverstone will put an extra spring in their step. It will be a weekend the drivers never forget, particularly for the six Brits on the grid, and I'm delighted that Abbi Pulling is among them to make her W Series debut at her home race. Giving opportunities to talented and hard-working young drivers is what W Series is all about."
Sarah Moore, 27, UK, Scuderia W, said:
"It's going to be an incredible weekend. It's one thing racing at Silverstone, the home of British motorsport, but to get the opportunity to race on the biggest weekend of the year in support of the British Grand Prix will be something I'll cherish for the rest of my life. I've raced at Silverstone a few times before and have done quite well there, so I'm hoping I can repeat that this weekend. I don't like the slower, stop-start circuits, so the flowing, rhythmical nature of Silverstone suits me. However, it is also very technical in places and if you get it wrong it can cost you a lot of lap time.
"This will be the biggest race of my career so far. To come away from the first two rounds of the season in Austria and be second in the championship means there is more pressure on me now, and that will go up another notch in front of my home crowd. But my approach will be the same – I went to Austria with a cool head which helped me stay relaxed before the races and I'll need that at Silverstone as it will be such a big occasion. Mentally and physically I'm in a much better place than I was in 2019 and I hope that pays off again this week and gives me another good result to keep me in the hunt."
Jessica Hawkins, 26, UK, Racing X, said:
"I got my first experience in a Formula 1 car at Silverstone a few years ago when I drove some high-speed demonstration laps at the Silverstone Classic in a 2011 Sauber C30. I hadn't been in a single-seater since driving a couple of British Formula 4 rounds in 2015. It was an awesome experience and completely blew my mind. This week I will be pinching myself when I return to Silverstone with W Series and so many people are watching us. I have been lucky enough to do some really cool things in my career but supporting the British Grand Prix might top the lot and I'll be giving it my all."