W Series: Britain's Jamie Chadwick becomes inaugural champion
13 August, 2019, 23:38
In simple terms, Chadwick needs only a podium finish on Sunday to take the title - something she has managed in all five rounds so far having led the standings from her opening victory from pole position in Hockenheim in May.
A spin by Miki Koyama at the entry to Sheene Curve brought out the Safety Car, which closed up the pack.
Chadwick, Powell and Emma Kimilainen circulated at the front for the first 10 minutes, in close formation but in line astern through the twists, turns and undulations of the renowned Kentish racetrack.
Visser started fifth, needing to win, and overtook Chadwick for third in the closing stages to end the season as runner-up and with a $250,000 payout.
Powell and Kimilainen eventually overhauled Chadwick in a combined move through paddock bend, the pair extending their lead while the championship leader fell into the clutches of title rival Visser. She has finished every race in the top three so far.
The Brit missed out on a final podium at the last race, finishing fourth but was still crowned the W Series champion.
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Chadwick has won previously in the British GT and is an MRF Challenge champions but cemented herself at the inaugural W Series season.
Chadwick said that was a big plus for the series' credibility, making the dream of Formula One much more attainable for female racers.
FIA Superlicense points - 40 of which are required to race in F1 - will be up for grabs next season as W Series expands, but Chadwick revealed she may not defend her title in 2020. "This year has been a whirlwind, and today's race was more intense than any other racing day I've ever had".
Chadwick is the current development driver for the Williams Formula One team and has also impressed during testing for the NIO Formula E team. As Powell led the field into Clearways and the safety vehicle peeled into the pit lane with six minutes remaining in the 30-minute race, she cleverly bunched up the field then nailed it onto the straight, establishing a lead over Kimilainen that she would never lose.
"I think a lot of people have started to change their minds about it and see it for what it is and what the W Series are trying to do". Next year, the W Series victor will also get points.