GIRL power – of the very fast variety – has just picked up some serious backing and seems certain of a great future. The all-female W Series, which had six rounds in 2019 and spawned some wonderful talent, has teamed with Rokit in a deal said to be worth 10 million sterling (about $19 million in Australian bucks) over three years.
Rokit already sponsors the Williams Formula 1 team, as well as the Monaco-based Venturi Formula E (all-electric) team.
Williams and Venturi are both run by women, Claire Williams and Susie Wolff, and inaugural W Series champion Jamie Chadwick is a Williams development driver.
What does Rokit do?
It describes itself as a ‘humanity first telecommunications business that offers state-of-the-art mobile handsets and bundled services.’
The W Series aims to encourage more women to enter motorsport with the ultimate aim to get into the elite racing formulae, including Formula 1.
“I think in the next few years we will grow into a global sport business,” W Series CEO Bond Muir said.
“We were been lucky we launched in a year where female sport exploded and there is increased interest in us for next year.
“We are having some fantastically interesting conversations at the moment, with proper global brands who understand what our journey is and hopefully they will come on board with us.”
Bond Muir also expressed admiration for Alejandro Agag, founder of the all-electric Formula E, and suggested her series could eventually follow his lead.
Winner of the 2019 series was British lass Jamie Chadwick, who collected a $500,000 prize, with runners-up Beitske Visser, of The Netherlands, and Alice Powell (UK) taking home $250,000 and $125,000 respectively.
However, cash prizes were awarded to all drivers on the grid, including reserve drivers.
For 2020, the W Series, after a three-day on-track test in Spain and rigorous lap-time assessment and data-analysis program, selected six new drivers to race alongside the 12 who automatically qualified after having finished inside the top 12 in last year’s championship.
The top 12 were: Jamie Chadwick, Beitske Visser, Alice Powell, Marta Garcia of Spain, Emma Kimilainen, of Finland, Fabienne Wohlwend of Liechtenstein, Miki Koyama of Japan, Sarah Moore, of UK, Vicky Piria, of Italy, Tasmin Pepper, of South Africa, Jessica Hawkins of the UK and Sabre Cook, of the US.
The six new fast females are: Ayla Agren, of Norway, Abbie Eaton, of the UK, two Spanish girls in Belen Garcia and Nerea Marti, Russian teenager Irina Sidorkova (she’s just 16) and Bruna Tomaselli, of Brazil.
Forty hopefuls turned up for the tests.
“Our commiserations go to those whom we haven’t selected,” racing director Dave Ryan said.
“But sadly their disappointment is simply an example of the jeopardy inherent in any athlete’s life at the higher levels of competitive sport. The more you can win, the more you can lose.”