W Series, the international single-seater motor racing championship for female drivers, today announces that it will stage a three-day on-track test at the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya, Barcelona, Spain, between 2-4 March 2022.
The eight drivers who qualified automatically for the 2022 season by finishing in the top eight last year – including two-time reigning champion Jamie Chadwick – plus last season's W Series Academy driver Irina Sidorkova, will get the chance to reacquaint themselves with W Series' Tatuus T-318 Formula 3 race cars ahead of season three, which consists of eight rounds in support of Formula 1, beginning in Miami, USA, in May. Joining them will be 11 drivers all hopeful of earning one of the remaining spots on the 2022 grid and a fully funded season on motor racing's greatest stage.
After five days of testing in Arizona, USA, at the start of February, W Series' Racing Director Dave Ryan has chosen five drivers – Tereza Babickova, Léna Bühler, Bianca Bustamante, Chloe Chambers, and Emely De Heus – who impressed at the Inde Motorsports Ranch to travel to Spain and test themselves against some established W Series stars and exciting newcomers, including Japan's Juju Noda who, aged 16, will be the youngest driver to take part in the test.
The Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya – which will also host the second round of the 2022 W Series season in May – has staged F1's Spanish Grand Prix since 1991. The 4.675km (2.9 miles) circuit has 16 turns and is a popular testing venue for the world's leading motor racing series due to its all-round challenge. W Series' test will follow hot on the heels of F1's first pre-season test of 2022 at the same venue.
The 20 drivers testing at the 2022 W Series pre-season test at the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya are as follows:
Tereza Babickova, CZE, 18
Léna Bühler, SWI, 24
Bianca Bustamante, PHI, 17
Jamie Chadwick, UK, 23
Chloe Chambers, USA, 17
Emely De Heus, NED, 19
Belen Garcia, ESP, 22
Marta Garcia, ESP, 21
Megan Gilkes, CAN, 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
Irina Sidorkova, RUS, 18
Bruna Tomaselli, BRA, 24
Beitske Visser, NED, 26
Fabienne Wohlwend, LIE, 24
Catherine Bond Muir (Chief Executive Officer, W Series) said:
"W Series' third season promises to be the biggest and best yet as we visit more circuits and countries in a single season than ever before – including our first-ever round in Asia in October when we will support Formula 1's Japanese Grand Prix. All the drivers attending the pre-season test at the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya are desperate to be a part of it, and this is their last chance to prove that they deserve a spot on the W Series grid in 2022. As interest in W Series grows, so does the competition for places, and I am expecting – and very much looking forward to – an intense week in Spain as the drivers put everything on the line."
Dave Ryan (Racing Director, W Series) said:
"The final round of the 2021 season at the Circuit of the Americas, Austin, Texas, USA, already seems like a long time ago, so it will be interesting to see how much progress the drivers have made over the winter. For those who are familiar with W Series and have already qualified for 2022, the pre-season test is about getting back up to speed as quickly as possible. Those new to W Series and looking to earn a seat for this year, need to impress by being consistent and showing that they are willing and capable of learning from their engineers.
"The Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya offers a good mixture of high and low-speed corners, and lots of elevation changes which, combined, make it an excellent test of both a car and a driver's all-round performance and ability, so there is no hiding place. W Series aims to propel its best drivers into the upper echelons of motorsport, and the fact that we are using the same pre-season testing venue as Formula 1 this year, is further proof of our determination to push them to succeed."