Advantage Chadwick: calculated victory in Austin puts Veloce Racing driver in the pound seat for title defence
The Circuit of the Americas played host to Round 7 of the 2021 W Series Championship (23 October), with the fast, flowing and undulating circuit putting the all-female single-seater drivers through their paces. The first instalment of this season’s double-header finale would see Veloce Racing’s Jamie Chadwick on imperious form.
Chadwick arrived in Austin, Texas tied on points with season-long rival Alice Powell, setting up a scintillating all-British showdown this weekend. The Bath-born racer started as she meant to go on showing blistering pace throughout both of Friday’s practice sessions to top the timesheets on each occasion.
She backed up her initial speed with two sensational laps in qualifying. A revised format meant that Chadwick’s fastest lap was good enough for second on the grid for Round 7 and her second fastest lap will see her line up on pole position in the season finale.
Team-mate Bruna Tomaselli, meanwhile, didn’t manage to convert her strong practice performances into ultimate qualifying lap time and will start 18th on the grid for both of this weekend’s races.
As the lights went out, Chadwick got off the line superbly to hold the early lead from Abbi Pulling. Emma Kimiläinen would seize the advantage into Turn 1, however, diving up the inside of the British duo, before gearbox troubles hindered her corner exit. Chadwick didn’t need to be asked twice and masterfully ducked under both of her competitors to claim the lead and she didn’t look back.
The 23-year-old began to stretch her legs following the Turn 1 tussle and duly opened up a gap of 2.5 seconds while the chasing pack battled for position. Further back, Tomaselli also enjoyed a strong start to move into 15th and joined the midfield melee.
At the 15-minute mark, Kimiläinen closed to within 1.5 seconds of the Veloce car but the reigning champion quickly responded with the fastest first sector of the race and ensured her rivals were kept at arm’s length, while continuing to manage her tyres for the remainder of the race.
Chadwick would eventually cross the line to win after a calm and calculated performance to take a 10-point advantage in the championship ahead of the season finale, while Tomaselli finished in 17th.
The Veloce Racing drivers will have little time to catch their breath, as the season reaches its dramatic conclusion in less than 24 hours (24 October), and the 2021 W Series champion is crowned in Austin.
Jamie Chadwick, W Series Driver, Veloce Racing commented: “I’m really happy with that result. Starting second and obviously having Alice [Powell] behind me, I wanted to make the most of that opportunity. To get the start we did and to follow it up with this result is great but the hard work starts tomorrow!
“I’m in a position where I can’t afford to take any risks so when I saw Emma [Kimiläinen] coming up the inside I was a bit hesitant but thankfully it paid off and got us a nice gap at the start. It was just managing the tyres – it’s quite tricky with the rear temperatures – but fortunately we managed to hold on and get the win. The championship was always going to go down to the wire but I’m starting on pole tomorrow so we’re in the right position for tomorrow.”
Bruna Tomaselli, W Series Driver, Veloce Racing said: “I started the weekend really well. I was top 10 in both practice sessions but then in qualifying I was penalised, so I started from the back of the grid for the race. I was pushing and gained some positions at the beginning and was hoping to get back inside the top 10 but its really tough to fight through because the midfield is so competitive.
“Round 8 is another story. We’re starting from the back of the grid again but I’ll be pushing for a top-10 result again to get some points in the final race of the season.”
Mariella Bailey, W Series Team Principal, Veloce Racing said: “What a drive from Jamie [Chadwick] today. She didn’t put a foot wrong; the start was obviously crucial and while the others were tripping over each other, she seized the advantage and managed the race perfectly from there. Bruna [Tomaselli] had a tough day at the office today but I know she’ll come back stronger to finish her season on a high!
“We have to bring our A-game for Round 8. We’ve had a great season and to have a 10-point lead going into the final race is a great position to be in, but we still have to get the job done when it counts. I say bring it on – Veloce is ready to win its first-ever championship!”