Chadwick raring to go in defence of W Series title with Jenner Racing

With the third iteration of the groundbreaking motorsport series for female drivers less than a month away, there will be one driver everyone will be aiming to overthrow. That person is two-time champion Jamie Chadwick.

Having dominated the 2019 W Series season in convincing fashion, the British star had a much tricker time of defending her title in 2021 after the season skipped a year during the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020. The battle of the Brits went down to the wire in the final round in Austin as Chadwick secured back-to-back victories in the series decider to beat Alice Powell to the crown.

Now chasing a hat-trick of titles, for Chadwick the goal remains the same as she enters 2022 driving for a new team in the form of Jenner Racing.

“The goal is the same to win the championship but there’s a lot I also want to achieve in the process, looking forward to working hard again, learning as much as I can,” said Chadwick during an online press conference from pre-season testing in Barcelona. “From what I’ve seen in testing it’s going to be a very competitive year as well.

“Joining Jenner Racing, an American team and new team for this year is really exciting. Obviously, Caitlyn Jenner at the helm, being such a big name and having such a big presence is going to be exciting. She’s got a strong motor racing background, so she understands the sport well and is going to be a good team boss for us, so looking forward to that.

“I’ve had a couple of conversations with her both before and after signing the contract to be a part of the team and I’m really looking forward to it. I think she’s going to be a big part of getting involved and going to be pretty hands on with the running of the team and making sure we’re doing the best we can, so I’m excited about it. Being in Miami for the first race is going to be cool for the American team and for the rest of the year as well.”

For the new season, W Series will once again be thrust into the global spotlight in its support of Formula One with four exciting new venues kicking off at the Miami Grand Prix, the series also visiting Spain, France, Japan, and Mexico for the first time as well as returning to Silverstone, the Hungaroring and the Circuit of the Americas.

“I don’t really know what the track looks like yet, to be honest but either way I think racing in Miami is going to be pretty cool,” enthuses Chadwick. “Other than that we didn’t manage to go to Mexico last year, did a bit of preparation but didn’t end up going, so I’m looking forward to that one as well.

“Not knowing the circuit, a lot of simulator work is going to be the key and I think my role at Williams will come into play with that. But with a new circuit like Miami it’s going to be tricky because a model of the circuit doesn’t exist as such but looking forward to it and prepare as much as possible.”

In the world of sports and entertainment in general, having exposure in America is always key to opening up many new avenues. And for Chadwick, having that level of exposure will not only be a highlight of the season but represents another chance to impress in front of a huge audience.

“I’ve made no secret that America is somewhere I want to explore more in my racing career whether IndyCar or whatever, so it’s exciting to have that kind of American ownership in the team and two American races this year. I went to the Indy 500 a few years ago and it’s one of the best sporting events I’ve been to. COTA last year gave me a similar kind of feeling, the spectacle and being a part of it with the fans.

Whilst racing in America remains something that Chadwick puts high up on her priority list for the future, it is by no means the only one in this most competitive of career ladders where the pinnacle for all drivers remains Formula One. The most well-trodden path are the feeder series of F3 and F2, yet often in order to do so requires no small shortage of funding.

“It’s quite simple. I just couldn’t secure the budget to do it. but W Series has given me a huge leg up, a huge helping hand but achieving a competitive seat in those series is an extortionate amount of money. It hasn’t worked out this time but I’m not disappointed but I’m not seeing it as a missed opportunity because there is still an opportunity with W Series, and I can still achieve a lot here this year.

“Obviously the ultimate goal is Formula One, but I want to have a professional career in the sport and be racing at the top level and in my opinion, I have to have a bit more experience in single seaters at a higher level to be able to achieve that. Whether Formula One ends up being a reality or not, it’s still the goal to get to Formula 3 or Formula 2. Having tested Formula E for both NIO and Jaguar, I am really interested in where the sport’s going and new tech in the sport whether electric or other advancements. It’s definitely something I’ve got my eye on and I would love to explore it in the future.”

For now, however, the immediate aim is to fight off the hungry pack of drivers once again nipping at her heels in what is an increasingly competitive and intriguing series.

“There are so few races that you have to score, and you have to get the points when you can. It’s not always easy to do that. I wouldn’t be surprised if it is a several car battle for the championship this year.

“The more I am pushed, the better it is for me, so I hope it is very competitive. The 2019 season and 2021 seasons were very different in the way the championship unfolded so it will be interesting to see how things go this year, but I think I know what it takes to achieve the result so it’s just about executing that.”

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W Series
Anglesey, Wales
17th – 21st May 2021
Photo: Drew Gibson

Fraser Masefield

Sports news and features writer, web editor and author.