W Series Academy guarantees youngest drivers fully-funded seats for two years
W Series announces details of its new Academy which will support the development of young female talent across all motorsport disciplines.
Irina Sidorkova, 18, and Nerea Martí, 19, made impressive debuts for the W Series Academy Team at the opening race of the 2021 season at the Red Bull Ring, Austria, the last week of June, 2021. As the two youngest drivers in the paddock and members of the W Series Academy Team, they are guaranteed drives in W Series for 2022, 2023, giving them time to hone their skills. In addition, they will receive intensive mentoring and coaching to hone their driving skills and race craft. They will also be provided with a bespoke fitness and nutrition programme, as well as media training to support their professional development.
The W Series Academy Team drivers will play an ambassadorial role, taking part in a community outreach programme to inspire girls to consider a career in motorsport. The grassroots initiative aims to provide females as young as 16 years old with a clear pathway from karting to the upper echelons of motorsport. Subsequent steps will open the door to the many supporting jobs and careers within the W Series racing world.
Catherine Bond Muir (Chief Executive Officer, W Series) said:
“We are delighted to be able to take the first step of our W Series Academy plans this season, despite the headwinds we and many others have faced over the past year. The W Series Academy is an important step forward in our quest to enable young women to enter motorsport and compete on an equal footing with men.
“Irina Sidorkova and Nerea Martí are our two youngest drivers but, at the first race of the 2021 W Series season in Austria, they both showed their tremendous potential on motor racing’s greatest stage. All of us were blown away by how they conducted themselves on and off track, and we are thrilled to be able show our commitment to them – and the next generation of young girls they are already inspiring – by providing the extra coaching and mentoring they need to go all the way because the sky is the limit for them both.”
Nerea, from Valencia, Spain, progressed through karting to compete in Spanish F4 prior to joining W Series in 2021. She made up more places than any other driver during the first race of the season in Austria, going from 16th on the grid to seventh. Irina, from Karelia, Russia, also raced in karts before competing in F4 in Spain and Russia, and F3 in Asia, and enjoyed a similarly impressive debut, going from 14th to eighth.