Former McLaren and Red Bull driver David Coulthard has announced the launch of a new all-female racing category to be known as W Series for 2019.
In recent years, efforts have been underway to try and increase the participation of women in motorsport with only Susie Wolff, Tatiana Calderon and Carmen Jorda having roles within Formula 1 teams.
Wolff, who is now team boss at the Venturi Formula E team, has been the most active advocate with her 'Dare to be Different' association, however, it is another racing Scot that is the driving force behind this latest push.
"We at W Series firmly believe that female and male racing drivers can compete with one another on equal terms given the same opportunity," said Coulthard.
"At the moment, however, 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."
The car that will be driven is a Tatuus F3-spec machine with six 30-minute races to take place at various circuits across Europe.
To ensure only the most talented female drivers are present a three-man panel has been created to select who will get a seat. Coulthard will be one alongside former McLaren team manager Dave Ryan and Red Bull designer Adrian Newey.
A prize fund of $1.5million is up for grabs with $500k going to the eventual champion to help her make that next step up the ladder towards F1.
W Series CEO is Catherine Bond Muir and she hopes the project can be a catalyst to end the male domination seen on racing grids everywhere.
"There are just too few women competing in single-seaters series at the moment," he stated.
"W Series will increase that number very significantly in 2019, thereby powerfully unleashing the potential of many more female racing drivers.
"W Series drivers will become global superstars – inspirational role models for women everywhere – and every organisation, every company, every sponsor and indeed every single person who helps W Series’ winners and champions achieve those ground-breaking successes will be able to celebrate their part in it, publicly, to lasting worldwide acclaim.
"W Series is an inspiring innovation whose time is now."
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