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Jamie Chadwick: IndyCar’s next big thing?

W Series Driver Jamie Chadwick talks in the paddock

With two W Series championships under her belt and a third likely, Jamie Chadwick is deserving of a promotion to a higher-level series.

24-year-old Jamie Chadwick is in a common, yet unfortunate situation in her racing career.

Unsurprisingly, that situation deals with a lack of money.

In a February post to social media, Chadwick stated “The next step (F3) is still four times the budget I have.”, despite receiving $1 million in prize money to date for her two W Series championships. The Brit’s accolades have been hotly debated on social media, with some arguing Chadwick is skilled enough to deserve a Formula 1 seat.

However, that seems unlikely for Chadwick, the only female driver to ever become a member of the Williams Driver Academy. Eventually, a coveted seat at Williams in Formula 1 could be in play, but just like every other driver on the grid, Chadwick would have to prove herself in F3 and F2 before getting a shot at the big leagues.

The Money Issue

All forms of motorsport cost a significant amount of money to take part in, and single-seater racing in Europe is no exception to that. The exact amount of money to run full seasons in F3 or F2 varies, but multiple online sources including estimate a season in F3 to run a team about $1 million USD, with testing costs rumored to add another 1 million to that number.

Unsurprisingly, F2 costs increase significantly to around $3 million for just one season, not to mention the millions more needed in sponsorship money to reach the top of the ladder.

But despite backing from a few sponsors and a feature in a 2021 IBM television commercial, Chadwick admitted herself that she simply doesn’t have the money to make the move upwards just yet.

A Potential Solution?

However, there is a series on the other side of the pond that is slightly more accessible for young drivers, with that series being Indy Lights, the final step on the Road to Indy ladder. When Penske Entertainment took ownership of IndyCar in 2019, it was made clear that changes would be made to make competing in the series easier (and more importantly, cheaper) for teams, drivers, and sponsors alike.

Among these changes were a new engine lease and a movement from a 20-race to a 14-race schedule that eases costs for teams intending on running a full season.

This is where Jamie Chadwick comes in. On August 31st, RACER reported that the 2-time W Series champion would be testing with Andretti Autosport’s Indy Lights team at Sebring on September 21st, giving her the chance to prove herself in an American open-wheel car for the first time.

While this opportunity may not result in anything in the States for Chadwick, she is getting her foot in the door and showing interest in potentially racing outside of Europe, which is something we haven’t seen in full until now from her.

Featured Image Credit: W Series Media Library

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