Jamie Chadwick, one of the hottest young talents in British motor racing, stood on the top step of the podium at Hockenheim Grand Prix Circuit in Germany on Saturday, 4th May, to make history as the first ever W Series race winner.
Having dominated practice and qualifying, the 20-year-old, from Tetbury in Gloucestershire, started the eagerly awaited inaugural W Series race on pole position and out-performed 17 other drivers in the opening round of the innovative new single-seater series, exclusively for female drivers.
Very wet conditions in qualifying were a challenge for all the W Series drivers, but Bath-born Jamie was at the top of the timesheets for most of the 25-minute session, and pole position was just reward for an impressive performance.
Weather improved ahead of the race and Jamie made a perfect start to lead the field. However, an unfortunate brake issue at the hairpin meant she ran wide and slipped to second place as a result.
Following a brief Safety Car period – triggered following an incident further down the pack – Jamie quickly hit back to re-take the lead from Sarah Moore and she controlled the race thereafter to claim a momentous, and historic, win.
Following the victory, Jamie said: “The win feels great. Going into the race, the conditions were tricky which made things a bit more difficult, but off the back of qualifying, and yesterday’s practice, I was really pushing to get that first win.
“Losing the lead to Sarah caught me out a bit. I couldn’t get the car stopped at the hairpin, and had a bit of an issue where I couldn’t get down the gears. But, when the Safety Car went back in, I knew I had a good opportunity to recover the lead and keep it.”
Catherine Bond Muir, W Series Chief Executive Officer, said: “After a huge amount of hard graft by the W Series team – a small band of dedicated and talented individuals whom I’m proud but humbled to work with – it was truly emotional to see our 18 cars line up on the Hockenheim grid this afternoon.
“What then followed was a brilliant race, full of wheel-to-wheel action all the way down the field. Jamie led from pole, but I was impressed to see Sarah quickly wrest the lead from her. At the Safety Car restart Jamie reasserted herself, and the battle for victory then became a two-car fight between her and Alice [Powell]. They both drove extremely well but Jamie judged things perfectly to hold on to win, and I was delighted to see one of our youngest drivers, 18-year-old Marta [Garcia], finish third – her first podium finish in a single-seater race.
“Did W Series make history today? Some people have been kind enough to use those words, but it isn’t for me to say. What I will say, though, is that today was a great day for women in motorsport and women in sport, and there will be more such days to come, starting at Zolder [Belgium] in two weeks’ time.”
Dave Ryan, W Series Racing Director, said:
“I don’t have a lot to say, but I do want to say this: I’ve had a lot of highlights in my racing career, but today is right up there. It was a superb race, everyone did a brilliant job, and congrats to them all. Next up: Zolder!”