Jamie Chadwick back to W Series after $1m winnings failed to fund F3 drive

W Series

Caitlyn Jenner's W Series team has signed Jamie Chadwick, who will look to defend her W Series title after missing out on an F3 seat despite having $1m in prize money

Jamie Chadwick W Series 2021

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Jamie Chadwick, who won $1m (£736,000) for winning the first two W Series championships, has announced her return to the female-only series in 2022 after being unable to secure funding to progress to Formula 3.

The six-time W series race-winner is joining the new team run by former IMSA racer, Olympian and reality TV star Caitlyn Jenner, as she looks to fight for a third title.

Earlier this month, the 23-year-old told Motor Sport that she wanted to move on from the championship and up the single-seater ladder to FIA Formula 3, but revealed that the two $500,000 cheques she received for winning her titles amounted to just a quarter of the money she needed to progress.

“I’ve said publicly before that I want to step up and out of W Series to showcase the opportunity it has given me and the platform I now have going forward,” said Chadwick in early February. It’s still difficult, even with the prize money.

“The next step is still four times the budget I have. It’s still not the easiest so we haven’t been able to confirm a programme just yet.”

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In an announcement today, Chadwick said that she hoped her partnership with Jenner for another W Series season would help to bring the support she is looking for, and that she also planned to race elsewhere in 2022.

“I am really excited to be returning to W Series to defend my title,” she said. “To be asked to return by Jenner Racing was an opportunity I didn’t think twice about. Together, we are focused on doing all we can to win title number three.

“I have spoken to Caitlyn Jenner and her vision for the team is amazing. I have zero doubt that she will be able to help take my career to the next level and open doors for me internationally. ”

Chadwick, who has been an F1 development driver for Williams since 2020, earned 15 FIA super licence points for winning the W Series title in 2021. She is not eligible for any more this year as a condition of her return, and needs an additional ten to take part in free practice sessions at grands prix.

This year’s eight-race W Series championship supports Formula 1, starting in Miami, with rounds in Spain, Britain, France, Hungary, Japan, Texas and Mexico.

“This is a big development year for me,” said Chadwick. “I have plans to run a supporting racing programme and I have made no secret of my desire to compete in F3 and F2. But timing is everything and the opportunity that W Series gives me to get more competitive experience at world-class circuits is a key step on my journey towards competing in F1. I would like to thank W Series for their continued support, and I am looking forward to kicking off season three in Miami.”

Jamie Chadwick sprays champagne after W Series Red Bull Ring race

Chadwick has only finished off the podium twice in two W Series seasons

Clive Rose/Getty Images

A GT4 title-winner in British GT, Chadwick is also the first woman to win a race in British F3. She won the debut W Series championship, only finishing off the podium in one of the six races, and followed that up in its second season last year, again taking a podium place in seven of eight races.

Between her title victories, she joined Prema to race in the F3-based Formula Regional European Championship, where she was disappointed to finish ninth while her team-mates took the first three places in the table.

“Jamie is an exceptional talent who has helped elevate the profile of W Series and inspire the next generation of female racing drivers with her performances on track – which have seen her become a two-time W Series champion – and off it where she has articulated our mission passionately and eloquently to a global audience,” said Catherine Bond Muir, W Series CEO. “We are delighted that she has decided to defend her title, and I can’t wait to watch her race at eight iconic circuits on the Formula 1 calendar for the Jenner Racing team.”