W Series CEO Catherine Bond Muir Is Ready for the Sport to Keep Growing

The time is ripe for the growth of women's sports, says Bond Muir.

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Jamie Chadwick leads the field during the W Series Hungarian Grand Prix weekend.
Jamie Chadwick leads the field during the W Series Hungarian Grand Prix weekend.
Photo: Francois Nel (Getty Images)

When I spoke to W Series CEO Catherine Bond Muir before the start of the 2022 season, she was optimistic. The sport had signed ESPN as an American broadcaster and was about to take on its season-opening event in Miami. I had a chance to touch base with Bond Muir, with just over half the season in the bag, to ask about how things are going now — and what’s coming next.

According to Bond Muir, W Series needs just one thing to create more momentum for the sport: Exposure.

“The highlight of the season for me was getting a million viewers in the UK alone at the Silverstone race,” Bond Muir said. “But I’ve made no bones about the fact that I want the U.S. to be our largest audience.”

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Bond Muir points to the growth of women’s sport around the world as a sign that W Series has potential, but right now, there’s been a little difficulty in getting the series to unite both the motorsport fan and the women’s sport fan.

“We’ve only got one American driver at the moment. We need to increase that number,” Bond Muir said, noting that a good portion of the grid is currently composed of British drivers. “We want to get more girls involved at the grassroots level [of motorsport] in the States.

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“It becomes a self fulfilling prophecy, because it’s the old adage, if you can see someone doing something, you start to see more of them. Just look at what Serena [Williams] has done in tennis.”

The discussion of drivers, though, led me to one big question.

“Are you concerned by the dominance of Jamie Chadwick?” I asked. Chadwick, who has won both previous W Series championships and looks set to accomplish her third this year, has been hands-down the star of the series. That very dominance has become a sticking point for casual onlookers; can W Series really showcase talent if one driver is far and away the best?

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“Were people asking the same question with Tiger Woods?” Bond Muir asked. “Were people asking the same question with Lewis Hamilton in the last seven years? Were people asking the same question with Michael Schumacher?

“I mean, I don’t know whether it is a sexist comment, but you do get dominant sports people in all sports. It’s not as though it’s been no competition, but I think the fact that we are getting a female superstar is fantastic.”

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Further, Bond Muir pointed to Chadwick’s upcoming Indy Lights test as a sign that the W Series pipeline is working. The women of the sport are moving up — and as an added bonus, they could be heading to America, where their very presence could increase the profile of W Series among Bond Muir’s most desired audience.

For a sport in only its third year of active competition, though, the outlook is great. Of course, there could be more global partners or a larger audience — but perspective is key. In its first season, races weren’t easy to watch and took place on a much smaller scale; now, with multiple prestigious TV deals and a secure place as an opening act to the popular international circus that is Formula 1, the sport has displayed a level of keen understanding few sports could even dream of having in their fledgling years. All things considered, W Series is doing just fine.

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The next round of the W Series will be the sport’s first in Asia, when it hits the track as part of the Singapore Grand Prix weekend between September 30 and October 2. Here in America, you can check it out on ESPNU.