Meet the W Series qualifiers

With the test in Melk, Austria done and dusted, the W Series has confirmed that a total of 28 women will go forward to the next and final stage of the selection process. Those who are successful will receive a fully-funded drive in the inaugural year of the female-only motorsport series.

In a three-part article, I get to grips with who will be getting behind the wheel of their F3 challenger in Spain in March.

Sarah Bovy

At 29-years-old, Sarah has extensive motorsport experience. The majority of her on-track success comes from the Belgian Touring Car Series where she was crowned vice-champion in 2012. In 2015, Sarah was a last-minute driver at the Renault World Series in Spa, where she landed a spot on the podium. Late last year, she made her debut in the Asian Le Mans Series. This was her first race start in an LMP3 car.

Sarah says that it’s an “unbelievable feeling” to be taking part in the final stage of the selection process.

“I will use the next seven weeks to prepare myself to be at my very best for this final stage,” she says.

Sarah in Shanghai (via Instagram)

Jamie Chadwick

Jamie is one of the five racers from the U.K. that have made it to the final stage. She became British GT4 champion in 2015 in her first year in the highly competitive British series.

2018 was perhaps Jamie’s most successful year to date, with her storming to victory in a British Formula 3 race. By doing so, she became the first woman in history to have achieved this. More recently, she’s participated in two Formula E tests after the first and second rounds of the 2018/19 season.

She labels her time in Austria as an “awesome couple of days”.

Jamie Chadwick (via Jamie Chadwick Racing)

Sabre Cook

At the beginning of last year, Sabre didn’t have a racing seat confirmed. With uncertainty in the air, she found herself in the USF2000 Championship Powered by Mazda. From there, she headed to the U.S. F4, and proceeded to test a 2009 Porsche GT3 Cup car. In addition, Sabre was the winner of the prestigious Infinity Engineering Academy top spot, being announced as the winner by Formula 1 driver Nico Hulkenberg at the American Grand Prix. Subsequently, she began her engineering programme with Renault Sport F1 team this month.

“The whole process has been really educational,” says Sabre. “I had such a fun time meeting and getting to know the girls and I really couldn’t have asked for a better experience.”

Sabre racing in the U.S. F4 series (via Sabre Cook Racing)

Natalie Decker

Natalie raced karts from the age of nine until 11 and during this time she secured a total of four championships. In 2015, NASCAR selected Natalie to be a part of the NASCAR Drive for Diversity initiative. She scored Super Late model victories in this campaign and then went on to become the first female racer to ever score a podium finish in the ARCA Midwest Tour.

This year, Natalie will race in the NASCAR Gander Outdoors Truck Series, the NASCAR K&N Pro Series and ARCA Racing Series.

“Thank you so much to the W Series for this opportunity and to everyone else in my life that has helped me along the way,” Natalie said after finding out the news.

Natalie at Daytona last year (via her website)

Marta Garcia

18-year-old Marta looks up to Lewis Hamilton as her role model. From Spain, Marta competed in the Spanish F4 series, finishing eighth in the standings overall in 2016. She stayed in the championship for 2017, where a ninth place was achieved. Marta is perhaps best known for her karting days, where she became a champion.

Credit: Marta Garcia and Motorsport.com

Megan Gilkes

Compared to her competitors, Canadian Megan has less racing experience due to her young age. She started out in karting at the age of nine, and then in 2017, she took to the track in her come country in a single-seater series. She finished second in the F1200 series, with one win and seven podiums to the rostrum. Last year she took a big step up, going across to Brazil to race in the Formula Vee series in two events.

Esmee Hawkey

Esmee is another Brit that has made it to this stage in the selection process and hopes to be a professional racing driver in the future. If she’s chosen to race in the W Series, she says that she’d still like to compete in the Porsche Carerra Cup too.

Esmee really made headlines when she won the Ginetta Junior Scholarship, where she went on to compete in the series in 2017. In her debut year, she finished as the vice-champion.

“Words can’t describe what an amazing experience the assessment process has been so far,” she says.

Photo via Esmee

Jessica Hawkins

Jessica has had excellent success in her career to date. From a well-established karting campaign to the Michelin Clio Cup Series, Jessica has demonstrated her versatility when it comes to racing. Her most notable achievement is becoming runner up in the MINI Challenge series. She scored five victories and a huge 13 podiums.

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