W Series champion Jamie Chadwick and collection CEO Catherine Bond Muir have defended the launch of its all-female sim racing collection following criticism.
Plans have been introduced final week for the 10-round W Series Esports League on iRacing that includes all 18 of the 2020 W Series drivers – and has since added three additional names from the 2019 season.
The preliminary announcement was met with a blended reception, mirroring the response to the launch of its maiden season final 12 months.
Amongst essentially the most vocal long-term W Series critics is FIA Formula three driver Sophia Floersch, who tweeted her emotions after the announcement of the all-female digital esports collection.
“Come on, that’s a joke?” Floersch wrote. “Segregation behind a computer. Girls, esports is 100% gender-neutral.
“So many esports occasions the place ladies and boys can take part. For free. What advertising and marketing stuff. A bitter reality.”
Floersch is one of few female racing drivers taking part in Esports championships – such as the DTM’s Esports Classic Challenge – since the postponement of real-life racing.
W Series champion Chadwick is another female racer to have participated in select recent Esports events and believes the W Series’ Esports League will create an opportunity for more visibility for female drivers in the real and virtual worlds.
“I’ve at all times mentioned over the previous couple of years that I might by no means perceive why there aren’t extra ladies concerned in sim racing,” Chadwick told Autosport.
“It is basically only a stereotype, there is not any cause [why there isn’t more female participation in sim racing].”
“I take a little bit of accountability as a feminine racing at a excessive stage of motorsport. I can, and among the different guys too, do a greater job of selling ladies in Esports, particularly now we’ve got this chance.
“What W Series is doing is similar to what it did in the real world, it’s providing that opportunity, giving that visible platform.
“They’re doing what IndyCar and Formula E are doing, they’re taking their collection and re-creating it on an Esports platform.
“It’s not trying to segregate women or anything like that, it’s giving an opportunity, and also filling a hole that we sadly can’t do with the real-world racing now.”
Series CEO Bond Muir mentioned she wasn’t going to be ‘apologetic’ for not inviting males to an all-female digital collection.
“We invited Sophia to race with us,” Muir mentioned. “I respect any driver’s decision if they choose not to race for us. I am understanding of their position if they don’t want to race with all women.
“I perceive individuals saying ‘Esports ought to by no means segregate’, however W Series Esports League is about ladies. W Series is about ladies.
“I’m not going to be apologetic to not opening it up to men.
“It’s about selling ladies in motorsport, whether or not that’s in Esports or in conventional motorsport, then that is what we’re doing.”
No choice of any potential prize cash and been made but whereas the exact dates of the season are anticipated to be confirmed shortly, with a possible begin date in early June.
The 2020 W Series season initially included eight rounds, ending with two Formula 1-supporting rounds in addition to the addition of F1 superlicence factors for the primary time.