W Series the International championship for female racing drivers which had an incredibly successful inaugural season in 2019 announced on Thursday that they have entered a partnership with iRacing, Beyond Entertainment (a community-driven organisation that specialises in hosting high-calibre tournaments) and Logitech to create the W Series E Sports League.
The following drivers will take part in the W Series E Sports League:
Jamie Chadwick, United Kingdom, 21
Beitske Visser, Netherlands, 25
Alice Powell, United Kingdom, 27
Marta Garcia, Spain, 19
Emma Kimilainen, Finland, 30
Fabienne Wohlwend, Liechtenstein, 22
Miki Koyama, Japan, 22
Sarah Moore, United Kingdom, 26
Vicky Piria, Italy, 26
Tasmin Pepper, South Africa, 29
Jessica Hawkins, United Kingdom, 25
Sabre Cook, United States, 25
Ayla Agren, Norway, 26
Abbie Eaton, United Kingdom, 28
Belen Garcia, Spain, 20
Nerea Marti, Spain, 18
Irina Sidorkova, Russia, 16
Bruna Tomaselli, Brazil, 22
W Series will invite other female drivers on an invitational basis. The following ten race calendar will see the drivers compete on legendary circuits around the world:
Autodromo Nazionale di Monza (Italy)
Circuit of the Americas, Austin (Texas, United States)
Brands Hatch Grand Prix Circuit (United Kingdom)
Autódromo José Carlos Pace, Interlagos (Brazil)
Circuit de Spa-Francorchamps (Belgium)
Watkins Glen International (New York, United States)
Suzuka International Racing Course (Japan)
Mount Panorama Circuit, Bathurst (Australia)
Nürburgring Nordschleife (Germany)
Silverstone Grand Prix Circuit (United Kingdom)
The car that the drivers will use is as follows:
Working closely with Logitech, Beyond Entertainment and iRacing, the W Series Esports League will feature digital versions of the Tatuus Formula Renault 2.0 race car, similar in performance to the W Series Tatuus Formula 3 race car, accurately modelled to replicate its looks, performance and driver ‘feel’, thereby creating an innovative state-of-the-art visual spectacle that further blurs the lines between real and virtual.
The racing will be as follows:
W Series Esports League points will be awarded in every race. At the end of the W Series Esports League season, the driver who has scored the most points will be declared the winner of the W Series Esports League Title.
Up to three races will be run at each of the 10 circuits, of varying lengths/durations, the majority of them conventional races started on grids formed according to normal qualifying sessions, but some of them reverse-grid races started on grids formed in reverse order of current W Series Esports League points standings.
Speaking about the formation of the new league, W Series CEO Catherine Bond Muir said:
“In the absence of on-track racing anywhere in the world, as a result of the ongoing global COVID-19 crisis, we at W Series are pleased to announce the inauguration of our own W Series Esports League.
“I’m extremely impressed by the work that has been done to put it together, in record time, by ourselves and by our partners Logitech, Beyond Entertainment and iRacing, in association with our principal sponsor ROKiT Phones, and I’m confident that the result will be a difficult yet exciting challenge for our drivers and an innovative yet thrilling spectacle for fans watching on YouTube, on Twitch, and on other streaming platforms dedicated to online gaming.”
David Coulthard Chairman of W Series advisory board said:
The 2019 W Series championship was a brilliantly successful and hugely popular six-race debut season, and I’m sure that the 2020 W Series championship, which has been scheduled over eight races, would have been even bigger and even better. We intend to stage on-track W Series races once the global COVID-19 crisis has subsided, whenever that will be, but, in the meantime, we’re delighted to have created the next best thing, the W Series Esports League, which will race on 10 of the greatest racetracks in the world.
“I began my racing career prior to the digital revolution, so I’d be the first to admit that I’m not an ace sim racer, but I recognise the brilliance of modern esports and I’m very much looking forward to watching our W Series drivers take each other on, racing wheel-to-wheel, on identical set-ups, remotely, from their own homes, all over the world.”
Defending W Series champion Jamie Chadwick said:
Nothing beats the sheer thrill of driving a real race car flat-out on a real racetrack, and I don’t mind admitting I’m missing that enormously. But I’ve been massively impressed by the work that W Series, Logitech, Beyond Entertainment and iRacing have done together over the past few weeks, and the result, the W Series Esports League, is seriously impressive.
“Moreover, when I saw the list of circuits, I literally gasped: it’s a truly mouth-watering schedule. So you can be well sure I’ll be practising hard from now until the first W Series Esports League race. It won’t be easy to continue my winning form – I respect all the W Series drivers and I know how keen they’ll all be to do well – but I’ll definitely be giving it my best shot. Bring it on!
Global head of G Challenge with Logitech Jim Hoey said:
With W Series we’re excited to open the world of sim racing to women all over the world. Once you sit behind the wheel, it doesn’t matter your race or gender – all it matters is how fast you can go!
Joseph Bentley, Head of Beyond Entertainment at Logitech said:
We are excited to partner with W Series to deliver high-stakes sim racing competitions designed to showcase the best women drivers across the globe. It is no secret that women in particular are under-represented in esports and, by collaborating with W Series, Beyond is proud to continue working as a positive force for change in the esports industry.
Otto Szebeni, Director of Sales at iRacing said:
We’re thrilled to partner with W Series on its esports initiative. The pairing of the world’s premier online motorsport simulation with the very best female racers from around the world is sure to put on extremely competitive on-track battles at a time when no other racing is available.”
W Series will announce their plans to return to real world racing at a later date.