The countdown towards the long-awaited return of the W Series is reaching the two-week mark.
Ahead of what promises to be a 2021 season full of action, GiveMeSport Women looks at the top ten drivers to watch out for this season...
Jamie Chadwick, Great Britain
Jamie Chadwick is the reigning W Series champion and a favourite for the 2021 season.
The 23-year-old won the inaugural 2019 series after finishing on top of the pile with 110 points. Out of the six races from the debut season, Chadwick placed on the podium an impressive five times – including her two wins at Hockenheim, in the first ever W Series race, and in Italy at the Misano World Circuit.
Chadwick is also currently competing in the Extreme E series, where she partners Stéphane Sarrazin for Veloce Racing.
The British driver will be eager to hang onto her title and make it two consecutive W Series triumphs. But after the test event in Angelsey, Chadwick should expect to be heavily contested.
Recently speaking to GiveMeSport Women, she said: "I’ve just been working as hard as I can. I know the level that's required, not just for the W Series but beyond that and my whole focus is [on] trying to leave no stone unturned."
Beitske Visser, The Netherlands
Beitske Visser finished just ten points behind 2019 champion Jamie Chadwick and will be looking to really push the Briton for the crown this season.
Visser earned four podium finishes in the inaugural campaign and clinched a win at Zolder in Belgium. She placed second in back-to-back races following her first ever W Series victory but will have been disappointed to miss out on a podium place in her native country at Assen.
The Dutch driver is well-equipped to challenge Chadwick this year, boasting experience across open-wheel racing as well as GT.
Alice Powell, Great Britain
The 27-year-old seems to have gone a little under the radar, but her performances last season speak for themselves.
Alice Powell finished third overall in the 2019 series, despite being forced to retire from the Misano and Norisring rounds. The Briton clocked up a respectable 76 points and rounded off her campaign with a first place finish at Brands Hatch.
As a top three contender, she could also be one of the main drivers to challenge for the title this season.
Marta García, Spain
One driver who is particularly hungry to leave her mark on the W Series this season is Spain's Marta García.
When speaking to GiveMeSport Women, last month, the 20-year-old admitted: "I think I've got what it takes. I'm going to try my best to fight for the Championship."
Indeed, García had an impressive inaugural campaign but finished just short of a top three finish. Her opening performance saw her bank a podium finish at Hockenheim, before eventually going on to win her first ever W Series race at Norisring. The Spaniard's form dipped after this however, finishing ninth and eighth in the last two races.
As a young driver inspired by the likes of racing icon Danica Patrick, García will be looking to put the pressure on her competition this season and improve on her fourth place finish in 2019.
Emma Kimiläinen, Finland
Considering Emma Kimiläinen failed to complete all three of the opening 2019 races, she still managed to finish the season in a very admirable fifth place.
The Finnish driver was forced to retire from the debut race in Hockenheim and did not feature in the two following. However, she placed fifth at Norisring before going on to claim the victory at Assen. Her final result of the term was a podium finish at Brands Hatch.
Kimiläinen is the oldest driver competing in the series this year at 31, but her experience across a number of different tournaments could be enough to snub some of the younger competitors of a place on the podium.
Jessica Hawkins, Great Britain
Jessica Hawkins was part of the initial W Series setup and boasts a very impressive cv.
The 25-year-old recently accepted a new role as a driver ambassador for Aston Martin, where she'll be working with the team operating behind the guise of Racing Point in this year's Formula 1 series.
Hawkins has a plethora of experience behind the wheel, but not all of it comes from competitive racing. The Brit was a stunt driver for the newest upcoming installment of the James Bond franchise, No Time to Die.
While she only managed to accumulate 12 points for the 2019 W Series season, Hawkins is still a big name to be watching out for once the new term gets underway in Austria.
Fabienne Wohlwend, Liechtenstein
Fabienne Wohlwend is statistically her nation's most successful racing driver, male or female. The 23-year-old is just one of three professional drivers to come from her country and she dominates the stats board with the most race starts, pole positions and race wins of any Liechtensteiner.
Wohlwend's debut W Series season saw her finish sixth overall, after collecting points from all but one race on the calendar. She finished on the podium at Misano, behind Chadwick and Visser.
Her experience competing in the likes of the Italian F4 Championship and Audi Sport TT Cup adds to her five years of experience behind the wheel.
The 2021 W Series season will get underway later this month at the Red Bull Ring, with the first race on the calendar coinciding with Formula 1's Austrian Grand Prix.News Now - Sport News