With the W Series test event now complete, focus shifts to the start of the long-awaited 2021 season, which will get underway in Austria next month.
Fans of the all-female formula have been eagerly waiting to see the drivers back in action after the 2020 campaign was declared null and void due to the coronavirus pandemic. Ahead of the new term, the W Series announced an official partnership with Formula 1 – aimed at increasing viewership of the upcoming races.
Reigning champion Jamie Chadwick will be looking to hold onto her crown and win back-to-back titles. But many racers will be eager to push her for the glory this season – one of those being Beitske Visser.
The Dutch driver was Chadwick’s closest competitor in the inaugural W Series season back in 2019. She finished second in the final standings with 100 points, just ten behind the Brit’s winning tally.
Visser came fourth in the opening race of the campaign at Hockenheim, finishing behind Marta García, Alice Powell and winner Chadwick. However, she turned her form around with a win at Zolder later in the month, leading the podium places at the Belgian track and registering her first W Series victory.
The 26-year-old went on to secure two consecutive second-place finishes in Italy and Germany, but will have undoubtedly been frustrated with her performance on home soil. The race on Dutch circuit Assen saw Visser finish fourth, while Emma Kimiläinen drove to a surprise victory after a poor start to the season.
The final race of the season was held at Brands Hatch, where Chadwick was crowned champion. Despite Visser finishing a place higher in this round, it wasn’t enough to counter Chadwick’s wins at Hockenheim and Misano.
Visser is a multi-talented driver who has raced across a number of series. While some W Series racers have only operated single-seater cars, the 26-year-old boasts a range of experience from kart to GT series.
Visser made her professional racing debut in 2011, competing in the Supercar Challenge at Assen. She was given a 25-second time penalty but despite the setback, she overtook Roger Grouwels and finished with her first ever win in her debut race.
After that, Visser switched to open-wheel racing, where she enjoyed stints with the GP3 Series and Formula E before moving to the W Series in 2019.
“As a driver, you are always looking to improve and, having finished second in W Series’ first season, there is only one step to go this year and I’m aiming to win the title,” Visser said in a recent interview. “If I work hard and make no mistakes, I’m confident of achieving that.”
Indeed, the Dutch driver will likely be one of the favourites to come out on top this season, with Chadwick undeniably the one to beat.
All W Series competitors enjoyed a week in Anglesey to prepare for the upcoming season and what promises to be a thrilling start in Austria.