Chadwick geared up for busy 2021 with defence of W Series and Extreme E debut

Jamie Chadwick is looking forward to a busy 2021 motorsport season as she finally defends her 2019 W Series crown, and competes in the inaugural Extreme E Series.

The 2020 W Series was sadly cancelled due to the global COVIS-19 pandemic that continues to affect the world at large. But with the 2021 W Series kicking off in June, there is optimism that it will take place in front of packed grandstands in support of the Formula One races.

Perhaps another advantage for Chadwick is that she has raced at some, but not all, of the iconic circuits that W Series will visit.

“I raced Paul Ricard this year in Formula Regional as well as the Red Bull Ring, Silverstone many times, not this year, but in former years,” said Chadwick in a W Series live chat on Tuesday. “Hungary is going to be a new one for me, I raced in Spa previously in British Formula 3 and British GT. Zandvoort, Circuit of the Americas and Mexico will also be new, so about half and half.

“I think I would have to say I’m most looking forward to Silverstone because it’s my home race, but I think secretly Mexico is up there. I think both the Americas races are going to be really, really exciting. Both the circuits look really cool, but also the atmosphere and the show the American guys put on is going to be pretty exciting.”

Chadwick, of course, will not be the only W Series driver with ambitions on the title and her rivals will also be trying their hardest to quickly get up to speed learning the circuits on simulators and utilising all important data.

“Racing drivers do learn tracks pretty quickly, and also given the amount of information that’s available to us with simulators. And the data that will be given definitely speeds up that process and that will be an advantage, definitely,” added Chadwick. “At the same time, I think being on the Formula One package next year we’re not going to get loads of time to be learning the circuits, it’s going to be quite a short format.

“I think the knowledge I’ll have of especially the first two circuits, when it’s important to try and get an advantage in the championship, is going to be really important and I’m definitely happy I’ve had that extra learning ahead of the first two races.”

Acting as official tech partner for the W Series for the first time in 2021 is Acronis, a global leader in cyber security, data storage and back-up. And Chadwick knows only too well the importance of data in motorsport.

“Any data gathered that you can get from any form of driving is valuable. Even though the circuits aren’t going to be the same, everything I learned in that year is going to be hugely important going into next year. The car is more or less the same, there might be some changes, but I imagine the majority is very similar to 2019, so there’s a lot I can take from that, a lot of knowledge and a lot of data and information into next year.

“I think the main thing is that there are so many new, iconic circuits on there. There are a few that fortunately I’ve done this year, but also some that I haven’t done, so that’s where the simulator preparation, doing the hard charge before the weekend and learning as much as you can is going to be really valuable.”

W Series is not the only exciting motorsport challenge that Chadwick will tackle in 2021, as she teams up with Veloce Racing in the ground-breaking electric off-road racing series that sees male and female drivers competing in teams against one another.

“Extreme E kind of caught me a bit by surprise. I obviously had my ear to the ground with developments with the series with obviously Veloce and my relationship there but it’s a very different style of driving and completely different to anything I’ve done before, so everything has been going in with an open mind and everything’s been a learning process. But honestly, I’m loving it so much.

“It’s a new challenge, so exciting. Like I said, very different, but the time I’ve been able to spend in the car and the amount I’ve been able to learn I’ve been really happy with. Aragon was obviously the first full power test we had and a few different circuits to learn and dial into the car and I had a great opportunity to work with my future teammate, so it’s an incredible championship, I love what they’re doing and more than anything just such an exciting thing for me to be a part of.”

Fraser Masefield

Sports news and features writer, web editor and author.