W SERIES’ SPRINT TO THE FINISH AT SPA
It is difficult to find a racing driver who doesn’t relish the chance to race around the Circuit de Spa-Francorchamps in Belgium and, this weekend, W Series’ 18 drivers will get the chance to see what this iconic track is like and how their Tatuus T-318 cars handle there.
However, first and foremost, everyone at W Series sends their condolences to the family, friends and colleagues of the circuit’s CEO, Nathalie Maillet, who died last week.
It is no surprise that, in a pre-season poll, several of the drivers who had never raced there before declared it as the track they were most looking forward to visiting this year. The ones who couldn’t wait to experience Spa for the first time included Ayla Agren (M. Forbes Motorsport, NOR), Sabré Cook (Bunker Racing, USA), Belen Garcia (Scuderia W, ESP), Marta Garcia (PUMA W Series Team, ESP) and Miki Koyama (Sirin Racing, JAP).
However, several of the racers in the international single-seater motor racing championship for female drivers have had the chance to race at this 4.352-mile (7.004-kilometre) circuit previously. The lucky eight are Jamie Chadwick (Veloce Racing, GBR), Abbie Eaton (Ecurie W, GBR), Sarah Moore (Scuderia W, GBR), Vicky Piria (Sirin Racing, ITA), Alice Powell (Racing X, GBR), Beitske Visser (M. Forbes Motorsport, NED), Fabienne Wohlwend (Bunker Racing, LIE) and Caitlin Wood (PUMA W Series Team, AUS). In addition, Nerea Martí (W Series Academy Team, ESP) has tested there. The inclusion of Caitlin on this list signifies that she will once again be the reserve driver who steps into the second seat for the PUMA W Series Team this weekend, having made her season debut last time out in Hungary.
As the drivers go into the second half of the season, the battle to be crowned W Series champion could not be closer. Just a single point separates Jamie and Alice at the top of the standings, while the fight for third is incredibly close as Nerea, Sarah, Emma Kimiläinen (Ecurie W, FIN), Fabienne and Irina Sidorkova (W Series Academy Team, RUS) are separated by three points.
This is a landmark year for the Circuit de Spa-Francorchamps as it celebrates its 100th anniversary. It is a circuit with a fearsome reputation as the longest on the Formula 1 Grand Prix calendar and, perhaps, the most unpredictable due to the region’s changeable weather. In the picturesque Ardennes region of Belgium, sudden storms often make one side of the circuit dry and the other side wet. The Belgian Grand Prix at Spa was on the calendar during the first year of the Formula 1 World Championship and, since then, 53 of the 65 Belgian races have been held there. The other 12 were staged at Nivelles (two) and Zolder (10) where W Series raced in its inaugural season in 2019.
W Series’ schedule for this weekend starts on Friday 27 August with a 30-minute practice session from 12.55 (local time, CEST). The 30-minute qualifying session will be held later that day from 16.30. The race – which lasts for 30 minutes plus one lap – will start at 16.30 on Saturday 28 August.
British fans can watch the fifth round of the 2021 W Series season live from the Circuit de Spa-Francorchamps on Channel 4 from 15.00 BST on Saturday 28 August. The action can also be seen across W Series’ digital and social channels, as well as being broadcast in more than 175 territories with a full list available at https://wseries.com/where-to-watch/.