November 7, 2019 / 5:22 PM / 14 days ago

Motor racing: W Series to make a profit in year three, says founder

LONDON (Reuters) - The all-female W Series which made its debut this year will turn a profit in season three, chief executive Catherine Bond Muir said on Thursday.

FILE PHOTO: Motorsports - W Series - Brands Hatch - Brands Hatch, West Kingsdown, Britain - August 11, 2019 Alice Powell of Great Britain celebrates winning the W Series race with Emma Kimilainen of Finland and Beitske Visser of the Netherlands REUTERS/Matthew Childs/File Photo

She added that the ultimate aim is to stretch the championship to 12 or 14 races from the initial six that featured in 2019.

“W Series will be profitable in year three and that is something we’re proud of,” she told a Sport Industry event.

“The motorsport community has been welcoming of the idea and I’m thankful to all our ambassadors and investors for helping us grow.

“We’re six races now, and plan to be eight next year — with two in the Americas — before expanding to Asia. Our aim is to settle on a 12 to 14 race calendar and I’d be happy with that success.”

An initial six race calendar has been published already for season two in 2020, with new rounds in Russia and Sweden. There has also been talk of linking up with Formula One grands prix in the United States and Mexico.

Bond Muir said the successful first season of a series that aims to help women climb the motorsport ladder to Formula One, had changed the dialogue with potential backers.

“We did a lot of value-in-kind deals in year one, because sponsors loved the idea but needed to see it in practice,” she said.

“That conversation has now completely changed, and because of how well year one has gone the negotiations are much more centred around cash-based sponsorship.”

Britain’s Jamie Chadwick won the first season and is returning for the second.

No woman has raced in Formula One since 1976 and aspirants need to raise significant sums to rise through the junior series.

The winner of the W Series, which uses identical 1.8 litre Formula Three cars, collects $500,000 in prize money.

“Nearly $5 billion went into personal sponsorship in motorsport this last year, but all to men,” said Bond Muir. “Our central proposition is to change that and ensure commercial success for our drivers.”

Reporting by Alan Baldwin, editing by Toby Davis

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