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Volume 25 No. 107
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New International Women's Racing Series Will Begin Next Year

A new "international motorsport series for women will begin" in May, and the W Series will be "free to enter and aims not only to promote female drivers but also to steer girls and women into engineering and science careers," according to Ian Parkes of the N.Y. TIMES. The series is the "brainchild" of U.K. lawyer/financier Catherine Bond Muir. The W Series will "feature six 30-minute races on some of the most famous circuits" in Europe. In coming seasons, the series will also "include races in North America, Asia and Australia." The cars used in the series will be the same Tatuus model used in Formula 3, a "steppingstone series to F1." The overall winner of the series will collect $500,000 in winnings from a "total prize fund" of $1.5M. The prize money will be "awarded down to 18th place in the final standings." The anticipated field of 20 drivers will be "chosen during a process involving on-track testing, simulator appraisal, technical engineering tests, fitness trials and media training" (N.Y. TIMES, 10/10).

PROS & CONS: IndyCar driver Pippa Mann said the W Series will "segregate" female drivers and is a "sad day for motorsport." Mann: "I am deeply disappointed to see such a historic step backwards take place in my lifetime" (BBC.com, 10/10). The GUARDIAN's Giles Richards writes Mann is "not alone in this opinion but Muir insisted the longterm goal is to help bridge the gap." Muir said, "The structure of motorsport is not working for women drivers. What ever is happening at the moment isn't working so let's try something new" (GUARDIAN, 10/10). Meanwhile, driver Jamie Chadwick, who this summer became the first woman to win a British Formula 3 race, said, "I will still race against men in other championships but W Series is the perfect supplement to help me develop and progress further through the junior motosport ranks" (LONDON TIMES, 10/10).

TWITTER REAX: Sky Sports' Damon Hill: "Big news for our sport. ... Great opportunity for female aspiring racing drivers." F1 broadcaster Will Buxton: "If women aren’t reaching the top we have to ask why. Option 1 is they aren’t good enough. Option 2 is that the system isn’t working. I don’t subscribe to the first option. Which leaves option 2. The only sensible solution is to try something new." Former F1 driver Alex Wurz: " @WSeriesRacing hopefully accelerates the process of more girls racing." BBC's Brian Moore: "Reading some of the comments on the W Series timeline, it seems that motor-racing is the last bastion of male privilege and denial. Yes, in theory women can drive equally with men but the fact is they aren't given the same opportunity."