Women-Only Motorsport Series Launched To Find Potential F1 Drivers

F1 for women: New female-only motorsport series launched to find future Formula 1 stars

Women-only W Series to launch in 2019, aims to find next F1 star

W Series will host six races around Europe, including one round in the United Kingdom, with 20 of the world's leading female racing drivers to compete for a $1.5m (£1.14m) prize fund.

W Series is due to get underway in May 2019 with six 30-minute races throughout Europe in the opening season. Future seasons will spread out to America and Asia.

The series will be free to enter, with 18-20 drivers unnamed having been selected based on what the series describes as "a rigorous pre-selection process involving on-track testing, simulator appraisal, technical engineering tests, fitness trials etc".

"In order to be a successful racing driver, you have to be skilled, determined, competitive, fearless and physically fit, but you don't have to possess the kind of super-powerful strength levels that some sports require". In fact, it was back in 1976 when we last saw a female driver, Lella Lombardi, competing in the prestigious open-wheel racing series.

The Scotsman hopes W Series helps women break the "glass ceiling" they often encounter in the current racing pyramid.

But W Series" statement said it was "on a mission to provide the experience and skills necessary for rapid progress within the sport - up to and including Formula 1 for the very best of the best'. "Those with funding to help female racing drivers are choosing to segregate them as opposed to supporting them".

A total prize fund of $1.5 million will be up for grabs, with the victor earning $500,000 and drivers all the way down the scale earning prize money.

"While it may create opportunities for some female drivers, it sends a clear message that segregation is acceptable", she told CNN.

"We fundamentally believe that the best opportunity to identify top female talent is by facilitating a dynamic where more women can compete and rise to the top in a mixed competition on equal terms".

Dave Ryan, former McLaren team manager, has been appointed the racing director, while the chief executive is lawyer and corporate finance banker Catherine Bond Muir.

Just 12 months next year it is planned to hold six races.

Plans have been unveiled today (Wednesday) for a new female-only motor racing series which aims to bridge the gap to elite championships and create "global superstars" out of its drivers.

W Series released a video to accompany its launch announcement, which featured the hashtag #RethinkRacing.

Your thoughts, then. Is this a long-overdue move to make Formula 1, World Endurance Championship, and rallying more inclusive?

Pippa Mann, who has entered the Indy 500 seven times during her career, said the introduction of an all-women series would represent a step backwards for female drivers hoping to compete at the highest level.

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