Ex-Synergy CEO Tim Crow has been announced as the commercial director of the W Series – a new single-seater motor racing series exclusively for women drivers, which has launched with a prize fund of US$1.5 million.
The inaugural W Series season will begin in the spring of 2019, with races to be run on some of the best and most famous circuits in Europe. The schedule is set to expand to include races in America, Asia and Australia in forthcoming seasons.
Sport sponsorship veteran Crow is among a number of leading names from the industry involved in the management of the new series, which is the brainchild of experienced sports lawyer and CEO Catherine Bond Muir.
Bond Muir explained the background to the property’s evolution, saying: “Having been a busy sports lawyer and corporate financier for the first 25 years of my career, I had my first baby at 45 and, while taking an extended period of maternity leave, began to develop the concept of W Series while at home.
“Almost three years later, it’s enormously exciting finally to be able publicly to announce the inauguration of W Series.
“There are just too few women competing in single-seaters series at the moment. W Series will increase that number very significantly in 2019, thereby powerfully unleashing the potential of many more female racing drivers.”
The W Series is based on the premise that an all-female series is essential in order to force greater female participation. W Series aims not only to provide exciting racing for global audiences, but also to equip its drivers with the experience and expertise with which they may progress their careers, racing and honing their skills in W Series before eventually graduating to existing high-level mainstream racing series.
Organisers will provide identical cars for 18-20 drivers in season one (2019), all of whom will have entered and passed a rigorous pre-selection programme/examination involving on-track testing, simulator appraisal, technical engineering tests, fitness trials etc.
The successful applicants will then be given a thorough training programme centring on driving techniques, simulator exposure, technical engineering approaches, fitness, media skills etc, all of it carried out by a group of experts with decades of Formula 1 experience.
As well as Bond Muir and Crow, they include: David Coulthard (multiple Grand Prix winner); Adrian Newey (the most successful chief design engineer in modern Formula 1 history); Dave Ryan (40 years’ Formula 1 experience in team management with the McLaren and Manor Formula 1 teams, as well having run his own GT racing team Von Ryan); and Matt Bishop (15 years' experience as a journalist and editor in Formula 1, followed by 10 years' experience heading up McLaren’s communications, content, media and PR operation in Formula 1).
Advisory Board member David Coulthard said: “At the moment, women racing drivers tend to reach a ‘glass ceiling’ at around the GP3/Formula 3 level on their learning curve, often as a result of a lack of funding rather than a lack of talent.
“That’s why an all-new all-female single-seater motor racing series is required – W Series – to establish a competitive and constructive motorsport habitat in which our drivers will be able to equip themselves with the necessary skill-set eventually to move on up to existing high-level mainstream racing series and compete with the best male drivers on equal terms.”