W Series to race in Sweden and Russia

W Series has announced an initial list of six races for 2020, including new fixtures at St Petersburg and Anderstorp, all six to be run in conjunction with DTM.

The W Series race at St Petersburg will be run on a newly built circuit called Igora Drive (pictured), measuring 2.539 miles (4.086km) in length, designed by Hermann Tilke.

Anderstorp Raceway is coincidentally almost exactly the same length – 2.501 miles (4.025km) – but it is by contrast a historic circuit, having been built in 1968 and having hosted the F1 Swedish Grand Prix from 1973 to 1978.

It has also been used over the years by Grand Prix motorcycles and World Superbikes, European Touring Car Championship cars, World Touring Car Championship cars and FIA GT Championship cars.

“We at W Series are thrilled to announce two exciting and important new countries in which W Series will race in 2020: Russia and Sweden,” said Catherine Bond Muir, W Series Chief Executive Officer.

“Our Swedish race, at Anderstorp, will take W Series to the Nordics for the first time, a region that’s home to our Finnish driver Emma Kimilainen, who was one of the stars of the 2019 W Series championship, winning at Assen [Netherlands] last year, as well as one of our new-for-2020 drivers, our recently announced Norwegian driver Ayla Agren.

“Our Russian race, at St Petersburg, will be the home fixture for the youngest driver in the 2020 W Series championship, 16-year-old Irina Sidorkova, from Petrozavodsk, which is also in Russia albeit 266 miles [428km] north-east of St Petersburg.

“Both Sweden and Russia represent important new territories for W Series, powerful economies both, appealing to fans, media and sponsors alike.

“We’ll announce the complete 2020 W Series championship calendar as and when we’ve finalised it.”

“I don’t yet know a huge amount about the newly built St Petersburg circuit, having never been there before,” admitted Dave Ryan, W Series Racing Director, “but the DTM drivers who’ve visited it have been very complimentary about it, describing it as fast and technical, finishing with an exciting uphill final sector consisting of a series of quick-fire corners, a hairpin and a long straight.

“By contrast I know a lot about Anderstorp, having been a member of the McLaren Formula 1 team when we raced there in the 1970s. It was and still is an unusual circuit, containing several banked turns, including the very long 180-degree Karusell right-hander, and it often therefore delivered unpredictable results. For example, in 1976, the two six-wheeled Tyrrells of Jody Scheckter and Patrick Depailler finished first and second, having not looked like winning any other Formula 1 Grands Prix that year, which makes Anderstorp unique in having hosted a Formula 1 Grand Prix won by a six-wheeled car. And a couple of years later Niki Lauda won at Anderstorp in the spectacular Brabham-Alfa Romeo BT46B ‘fan car’, which dominated the 1978 Swedish Grand Prix but never raced in Formula 1 again, thereby winning its one and only Formula 1 Grand Prix.

“I’m not going to be so bold as to promise that W Series will make racing history to quite that extent in Russia or Sweden next year, but we’re absolutely delighted to be able to announce that W Series will be racing on two such exciting circuits.”

The initial six races are:

St Petersburg (Russia): May 29-30
Anderstorp (Sweden): June 12-13
Monza (Italy): June 26-27
Norisring (Germany): July 10-11
Brands Hatch (UK): August 22-23
Assen (Netherlands): September 4-5