Jamie Chadwick Interview: Cool on W Series 2021 chances

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Jamie Chadwick Webinar W Series 2021
Jamie Chadwick as part of her Zoom Webinar on 10/12/20 discussing her 2021 plans

Jamie Chadwick answered a variety of questions in a late-2020 Zoom webinar. The session, hosted by veteran motorsport journalist, Louise Goodman, was part of the FIA’s “Girls on Track” initiative. In association with Motorsport UK, Chadwick talked W Series, 2021, and much more.

The public participants were able to ask, via Louise Goodman, questions about Jamie Chadwick’s future, her electric racing involvement, and, inevitably, women in motorsport. But here at GP Grandstand, we like to see drivers as drivers rather than genders, so we won’t delve into that. Nonetheless, a typically eloquent Chadwick did her utmost to give extensive and honest answers about her past, 2021, and beyond, throughout the 50-minute session.

The full webinar is available on the Girls on Track Facebook page (which is well worth a follow, may we add). The Zoom session was raw and unedited. Nonetheless, Jamie Chadwick fielded every question well. Often using a “Good question…” politicians delay, she went on to give thorough answers to those watching on.

Extreme E vs W Series

One standout included her coyness on any 2021 W Series participation. Of course, Chadwick was announced as half of the Veloce Racing Extreme E driver line-up. Jamie said she would need to check with how the calendars line up. If she is to race at all the ‘xPrix’ in the electric rally series, then she would need to miss two rounds of W.

The Extreme E calendar may only contain five events but it does repeatedly clash with F1, and thus the W Series calendar on several weekends. Greenland’s ‘Arctic’ event is on the same weekend as Spa with the following ‘Amazon’ xPrix in Brazil set when W races in the USA.

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Louise Goodman asked Jamie Chadwick outright whether we will see her in a W Series cockpit in 2021. “If I can try and make it fit amongst other calendars” was the response. It is most likely an honest answer, but not encouraging for those hoping to see her return to defend her crown.

And speaking of her 2019 W Series campaign, Jamie gave insight into how she found it when working with different engineers. Without any teams championship in W Series, each driver is assigned a race engineer from a draw. The mechanics and the chassis come as part of the race package too, but it was the race engineer Chadwick remembered most.

Her long-term engineer, prior to joining W, was one of those available, but she only worked with him once in 2019. That was at the Misano race, the second of the two Chadwick won. Jamie said that it did make a difference having the familiar voice again, as evidenced by the victory. However, she went on to say that as a learning experience it was beneficial. Each engineer brought something different and she learnt something new from each, as well as adaptability in herself.

Opportunity is everything

One element that is rarely spoken about in motorsport is the exact values of necessary finance. It’s well known that racing is expensive, but cost caps aside, specific numbers are seldom made public. So we loved the insight from Chadwick about her struggles looking for sponsorship in her early career. Jamie explained that she sought a cool £20K from a single sponsor to support her in the Ginetta Junior Championship. The answer was a no, showing that even the best of us have don’t have an easy path.

Yet, the story, unsurprisingly, has a happy (and satisfying) ending. Jamie won the British GT championship a few years later. Once she had done so, that same sponsor that rejected her came back offering the full £20,000. And with the Jamie Chadwick name now being a known quantity, and worth more than that, she was able to say no! A good result for Jamie in the end, but the story shows it really is only about results in motorsport.

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Though talented drivers claim podiums, victories, and titles, Chadwick explained how aware she is of the elements out of any drivers hands. She sympathised with those that never had the opportunities come their way. As we all know, being in the right place at the right time is the key. In motorsport that has to happen both on the track and off it for success to come. That is something Jamie Chadwick has been fortunate to have while many haven’t, of course. But recognising the fortunate position she has found herself was great to hear from the Brit. Humbleness and modesty could so easily disappear with a championship title.

Jamie Chadwick going electric for 2021

Much of the interview, of course, delved into her 2021 Veloce seat in Extreme E. But her other electric experience with Formula E tests showed the appreciation Jamie Chadwick has for the electric racing in general. Chadwick detailed that while the single-lap qualifying format is similar to “standard” motorsport, the race is a different beast. With the battery level being a constant concern for the driver, Chadwick thinks it’s something that doesn’t come across on TV.

The regen paddle on the FE car acts much like a brake pedal she said, completely changing the necessary racing style. With lifting off early before a corner, plus the addition of the regen paddle, while attacking and defending, Jamie likened the race to a constant mental calculator. Her admiration for those drivers at the top of their game in Formula E was evident to hear.

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Interestingly, Chadwick admitted she worries more about the internals of the electric car compared to a petrol engine. With spec engines in the junior formula, nursing an internal combustion engine home isn’t anything on her radar in W Series, or Formula 3 level racing. Making the battery last an entire stint is a different story, adding to the complexity of driving an electric race car. Something for her to no doubt look out for in Extreme E throughout 2021.

There are many more tidbits to glean from the webinar, too. From speaking about how she hasn’t fancied motorbikes because her dad wasn’t a fan of her being on two wheels, to how she has no set routine before a race. Aside from having an espresso, that is. The Italian Prema experience has clearly had an influence! For any W Series or Jamie Chadwick fans, it’s a must-watch. You can find the full video over on the FIA Girls On Track Facebook page.

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