Caitlin Wood will finally get her chance to compete in the 2021 W Series season after being called up to race in this weekend’s round at the Hungary Grand Prix.
As one of five reserve drivers registered to the series, Wood will race in the second Puma W Series Team car alongside Spaniard Marta Garcia.
With each of the reserve drivers getting an opportunity to race in the series this year, Wood is the third to get her chance with Gosia Rdest from Poland having raced at the first two rounds in Austria and Brit Abbi Pulling contesting the British Grand Prix earlier this month.
Ahead of the first round of the year, the New South Wales born driver was looking forward to racing again despite having limited time in the car.
“I am super excited for the weekend because it’s a great opportunity,” Wood said.
“It’s going to be a tricky round because it’s halfway through the season, but I am going in with a positive attitude and will grab this opportunity with both hands.
“Right now, Hungary is the only round locked in but if I can perform well and take a lot away from the weekend, then there could be a chance for something further down the track.
“Unfortunately I haven’t been in the car since pre-season, but I have been watching and learning for this moment, so I want to get in there and give it a good go.
“I think wanting to come away with some points and to enjoy myself are good goals. I also want to represent Australia well on the international stage.”
This weekend won’t be the first time Wood has raced in the W Series.
The 24-year-old was part of the inaugural season back in 2019 following an intense selection process that saw more than 60 women from around the globe evaluated through rigorous testing before the top 20 were chosen.
Wood then had a solid start to the season with a top 10 finish before mechanical gremlins plagued her from scoring points over the next three rounds. She was then able to showcase her full potential during the second to last round in the Netherlands by finishing fifth.
However, for the final round of the year, issues once again cost her a points finish as she crossed the line in 11th for the third time that year - the most of any other driver.
Now almost two years after making her last appearance in the series, a more mature Wood is ready to utilise everything she has learnt since then for a good start.
“Ultimately I have been a reserve driver for the first three rounds this year, but I have been going to all the races and treating the week leading up to them by preparing as if I am driving,” Wood explained.
“I've had good preparation for each round and although it wasn’t my turn to get in the car, I put in just as much effort as the others so I will continue with that same preparation method for this week.
“I have also really worked on myself with my driving and mental coaches so I could tick all the boxes and do a good job for when the time for me to race did come.
“I can’t change the fact that I haven’t done the first three rounds or been in the car since pre-season testing, but I do feel far more comfortable and confident in my abilities since 2019.
“That year wasn’t the best for me as I was a bit unlucky in a very up and down season. So to be given that chance where I can have another go and try and prove myself is the most important thing and I am looking forward to it.”
This weekend will see the series have one 30-minute practice session and qualifying on Friday before the 30-minute race on Saturday following Formula 1’s official qualifying session.