Ahead of the first race in the new all-female W Series championship on 4 May, Jamie Chadwick, first female to win the British GT Championship, talks to Autocar about what the series means to her, and why it's a better idea than its most vocal critics suggest.
You have the highest profile of any driver in W Series, so is it fair to say you have the most to lose?
“You could look at it like that, but I could also have the most to gain. When I was looking at my options for this year, naturally a racing driver’s budget comes into it. I looked at what was possible. It certainly didn’t look like the new [Formula 1-supporting] FIA Formula 3 series was an option because the budget for that was out the window. We’re talking €800,000 to €1 million, and there aren’t many seats.”
So why did W Series appeal?
“I’ll be quite open, initially the idea of racing just women wasn’t necessarily of interest. But the opportunity that the W Series provides is far greater than anything else on the table. It’s a funded series, which makes a huge difference, but it’s also top F3 cars on great circuits and obviously it pays prize money at the end of the year. The support you get as a package, I don’t think I could turn it down when I looked at it like that.