WORDS BY IAN PAGE | PHOTOS BY W SERIES
The beginning of the 2022 W Series championship draws nearer after the 22 drivers that will be taking to the track this season were selected.
Following pre-season testing in both Spain and the USA, the championship announced that nine new drivers will join the eight that qualified automatically, thanks to their 2021 championship placing.
The five of those new drivers making their debuts are Czech driver Tereza Babickova and Dutch driver Emely De Heus, both 19, Philipino Bianca Bustamante, 17, fellow 17-year-old American Chloe Chambers, and 16-year-old Juju Noda from Japan.
The final 18th slot of the grid is reserved to give valuable racing experience to a pool of reserve drivers the series has earmarked as future talent.
Once again, double W Series champion Jamie Chadwick will return to defend her crown when the season kicks off in May at the Miami International Autodrome, supporting the Formula 1 weekend.
Notable absences from this year’s grid are British driver Abbie Eaton who is taking a break from racing after breaking her back in last year’s season finale, Italian Vicky Piria, and Russian teenager Irina Sidorkova, who, like Russian athletes across the board, have had restrictions placed on them due to the Ukraine Crisis.
There will also be a continuation in the structure of the series being centrally run, with “teams” existing purely for sponsorship purposes.
The first of these new teams to be announced was Jenner Racing, owned by media personality Caitlyn Jenner.
Three further entries joined, Click2Drive Bristol Street Motors Racing, the cryptocurrency-backed Quantfury, and finally the Community Owned Race Team CortDAO, which is the first-ever team that allows online community members to part-own a racing team.
Crowdfunded, to begin with, the team intends to fund itself by collaborating with sponsors for further investment.
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