W Series Esports League calendar announced

The W Series Esports League for female racing drivers only will begin competition around the famous, albeit virtual, Autodromo Nazionale di Monza on Thursday 11 June at 19.00 BST.

As with the ground breaking W Series, the Esports version will feature all 18 drivers who have qualified to race in the on-track W Series this year and the format will see the drivers compete in up to three races run at each of the 10 iconic circuits, of varying lengths/durations. The series will be streamed on Twitch, YouTube and Facebook and culminates on Thursday 13 August with virtual races at Silverstone.

In the current absence of any real racing and no clear picture emerging as to when social distancing measures will be lifted, it is hoped that the series will help to further raise the profile of female sim racing and encourage more women and girls everywhere to take up eracing.

“In the absence of any real racing at the moment, the main purpose of this is obviously to allow our drivers to stay sharp and what we want to do is to carry on entertaining our fans and increase that kind of contact between fans and drivers,” commented Catherine Bond Muir, CEO of the W Series. “Of course, we want to keep our drivers in a competitive environment and obviously motor racing drivers across the world are becoming increasingly frustrated about not being allowed to be on track. I’m not sure the skills are directly transferrable, but personally I feel that keeping that level of competition is crucially important.”

In order to make the racing as realistic as possible, the W Series has partnered with Logitech G, Beyond Entertainment and iRacing, the leading esports simulation platform, and features digital versions of the Tatuus Formula Renault 2.0 race car, similar in performance to the W Series Tatuus Formula 3 race car in which the women compete in the series proper.

“We have taken many weeks to get deals in place with what we believe are the best suppliers in the industry in Logitec, Beyond Entertainment and iRacing,” added Muir. “Obviously we talked to a variety of people to understand what the best way of going forward was, and we started to look at this very seriously following lockdown when we were trying to figure out along with the rest of the world what 2020 was going to look like, and it gained increasing momentum when our initial races were postponed.

“What it has turned into is the best possible alternative to live racing. And it does have upsides. We have the ability to have very meaningful interaction with our fans and continue to tell the story of our drivers and what their hopes and dreams are of being motor racing drivers.”

Fraser Masefield

Sports news and features writer, web editor and author.