Two Canadians appear on the list of 55 contenders for a spot on the 18-driver grid for the inaugural all-female W Series.
The W Series was announced in October with a $1.5 million prize fund and no budget requirements from prospective participants. It is set to be held over six rounds in 2019 and use F3-specification Tatuus T-318 machinery.
Series’ organisers revealed they have been contacted by “more than 100 applicants from 30 countries around the world”, from which the current 'longlist' was selected.
Two Canadians, Megan Gilkes and Taegen Poles, have been preselected and will undergo the first series of tests and evaluations.
Megan Gilkes comes from Richmond Hill, Ontario and started by racing karts and after graduating from the Skip Barber Racing School the 17-year-old driver moved to Formula Vee open-wheelers in 2017. In 2015, Gilkes won the Ottawa Challenge Karting series and one year after she ranked second in the Eastern Canada Karting Championship. Megan also represented Barbados in the 2011 Easykart World Finals in Italy.
The other Canadian is Taegen Poles. Poles, 20, comes from Toronto. She began racing karts in 2006 and finished sixth in the Eastern Canada Karting Championship in 2011. Primarily based out of Canadian Tire Motorsport Park, Poles continues to race karts on a national level, now in the ROK Senior class as a member of Energy Kart North America Team. She also began racing shifter karts and continued her relationship with Brian Graham Racing.
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The two Canadians will be battling for a spot in the W Series against some pretty experienced drivers such as Carmen Jorda (who tested for the Lotus F1 team a few years ago), Natalia Kowalska (Formula 2), Vicky Piria and Alice Powell (GP3 series), Jamie Chadwick (British F3) and Beitske Visser (Formula Renault 3.5).