W Series drivers keen for Esports style calendar


Among those real racing series taking racing online in 2020 has been the W Series. Over the past six weeks, the drivers have hit the track on iRacing and will continue to do so for 4 more events.

The Esports League season so far has proven to be one of the more successful of the bunch thanks to the professionalism encouraged by W Series staff which has been embraced by the drivers. Although incidents and crashes may have been frequent, this can only be expected when racing turns virtual.

So far, it has been Beitske Visser who has dominated the front running. Visser’s charge in recent weeks has been slowed having been caught up in multiple accidents. This has allowed competitors including Caitlin Wood, Marta Garcia, Ira Sidorkova and Alice Powell to snatch a share of the spoils and take up the fight.

After the last race at Watkins Glen, I spoke with Caitlin and Marta to see which aspect of the series they would like to see brought into the real racing in 2021.

Australian native Wood was quick to suggest Bathurst be pursued for the 2021 calendar. She continued: “I think it’s been really successful. There are loads of things that it would be cool to have in a real championship. The fact that all of us drivers can talk to each other while we are out there is entertaining but obviously wouldn’t be good for us out in the real world. I think the circuits have been super amazing, there has been some great variety in style and the countries we go to. It would be a great opportunity that doesn’t take away from the fact that last year we raced at some of the best circuits in the world as well. But if I were to choose anything, I would choose Bathurst.”

Spaniard Garcia followed on “Caitlin’s right, we have been racing on some super cool and challenging tracks and it would be good to see them come to the W Series next season.

Both drivers were also keen to adopt a two-race weekend format which includes a conventional and a reverse grid race.

Trialed at Assen last year, sim racing has proven to be a brilliant platform to test new real-world options. Marta again added: “The real race was fun, but it might be more fun to reverse the whole grid unlike Formula 2 and Formula 3. We would also have to change how points are awarded to make it a bit more fair as, as you have seen, anything can happen.”

The Esports League has seen the W Series adopt perhaps the most mouth-watering tracklist around. With rounds at Monza, COTA, Brands Hatch, Interlagos, Spa and now Watkins Glen under the belt, the intensity ramps up from here-on-in.

The final four rounds take the W Series drivers to Suzuka, Bathurst, the Nordschleife before the last races at Silverstone on August 13th. Races are held every Thursday night at 7pm BST when three races are streamed on Twitch, YouTube and broadcast on the BBC.