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sport / / Update on Jamie Chadwick

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Update on Jamie Chadwick


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18 mins ago
By Jack Benyon
See comments
A pair of top 10s in a row mark Jamie Chadwick’s best Indy NXT results
of the season so far.

That might not sound like the results you expect, but one of those 10ths
was on an oval – no mean feat – and as for the rest of the campaign,
she’s learning a new tyre and a host of new tracks in a way few others
are doing.

And yet, scrolling through Twitter, there’s still negativity towards
Chadwick’s performances. Contrary to accidentally retweeting an
anti-Chadwick tweet while looking through – I’m so sorry, Jamie! – I’m
not ready to accept that this season has been a failure for a multitude
of reasons.

It’s perhaps because people in Europe expect so much of Chadwick because
she won W Series three times, perhaps because there’s an element of
underrating the level of the Indy Lights (now NXT) series, and perhaps
because people have just put all of their eggs in Chadwick’s basket as
the future of women in motorsport at the elite level, driver-wise anyway.

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Fortunately, Chadwick’s feet are so well planted on the ground that
they’re effectively welded to it at this stage, and she’s not interested
in anything other than her own improvement and development.

“In Europe, it’s very different to what it is here,” Chadwick tells The
Race, speaking ahead of her Iowa oval debut two weeks ago.

“Here it’s maybe what I was expecting and how I felt like it maybe
should be [what people think of her adaptation so far].

“We’re making progress. OK, we want to be further up. I would say the
potential is there. But there wasn’t the expectation to be winning races
off the bat.

Jamie Chadwick Indy Nxt By Firestone At Iowa Speedway By James Black Ref
Image Without Watermark M87855

“In Europe, maybe there was [the expectation to win straight away], but
I know exactly what I’ve come from, the step up that I’ve got, I’m not
claiming that I want to be a Formula 1 driver next year or anything like

“I think it’s a long road for all of that. But what’s really positive is
that from W Series it’s a big step up, but I feel like I’ve been
welcomed well over here and there is an opportunity to do well.

“And hopefully for the young girls now coming through it does showcase
that there are opportunities, both sides of the pond, and there is a
chance to have success.”

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Expanding later on, Chadwick adds: “I think I was flattered in W Series
with results.

“But I’m under no illusions that it’s going to take me time to get there
and I feel like there’s nothing wrong with that.

“I can take a bit of time and it’s great that I’m in an environment
that’s allowing me to do that and Williams has been very supportive of
that as well.

“I’m not in a position to jump in F2 and win in my first year, so it’s
great to be in an environment where I’m given that time to learn and

The realists who know Indy NXT knew this would be a tough test for
Chadwick. The car itself was described as being more like a rally car by
last year’s champion, Linus Lundqvist, and to get the most out of an
eight-minute qualifying you have to drive the car beyond its edge.

Jamie Chadwick Indy Nxt Chevrolet Detroit Grand Prix Presented By Lear
By James Black Ref Image Without Watermark M83665

“I’ve always just left a little bit too much on the table,” Chadwick

It’s a departure from the more tyre-conscious, conservative driving
style which sacrifices everything to avoid sliding in Europe. That’s
before you consider driving an oval or street course which you don’t get
as much experience of on the lower rungs of the junior single-seater ladder.

The problem is, when Chadwick does make leaps, it feels like something
bad then happens. Qualifying seven tenths off the pace at Mid-Ohio in
ninth was a strong effort, but she felt she was taken out of the race by
avoidable contact.

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And when she does make avoidable errors, of course, she’s judged more
harshly than others because of the reputation that has been attached to her.

The results on paper are far less important at this stage than assessing
the adaptation, especially with the car itself.

“The car’s a handful, we’ve actually made quite a lot of changes to help
me physically with the car, which has helped,” Chadwick adds.

“Yeah, just getting used to that. It will be the same for the rest of
the year, a lot of the tracks I go to for the first time on the Friday
and just adapting.

“I’ve been, actually, to be honest, too slow to adapt anyway. But I
think it’s not easy when you see some of these tracks for the first
time. They’re not like European tracks with a lot of runoff. The general
trait is that I’ve been more competitive at tracks that are a bit more
like European kinds of circuits.

Jamie Chadwick Indy Nxt By Firestone Grand Prix At Mid Ohio By Joe
Skibinski Ref Image Without Watermark M86119

“We are making progress, more than maybe it looks on paper, like you
said, the focus isn’t really on results.

“The reality is those don’t matter so much at the moment, we just need
to make bigger steps as we can to genuinely be competitive and there on
merit, rather than just picking up pieces.”

As I’d written after Chadwick’s first race of the year in St Petersburg,
it was too soon to judge her transition to America then, and it still is
now. Although the last few races have shown signs that Chadwick is
getting a handle on what’s needed.

Don’t judge Chadwick yet – her debut was better than it looked
Read more
The time to judge would be in the second year. The Race understands
Andretti is keen to continue with Chadwick and vice versa, although all
of that needs to be hashed out in the coming weeks.

When asked if it is her goal to continue, Chadwick replies: “Honestly, I
can say, yeah, I do [want to].

“It does come down to performance and results, which needs to improve
for sure.

“I’d like to have the opportunity to do a second year of Indy NXT
because I think with that second year, we can make a really good step
and be really competitive, in my opinion.

“But yeah, I could really see myself over here.

Jamie Chadwick Indy Nxt By Firestone Grand Prix At Road America By Karl
Zemlin Ref Image Without Watermark M85025

“It comes down to performance anywhere you are, if it’s in Europe or
over here, but yeah, I love the environment.

“I love the kind of vibe, the way everyone goes racing over here is
quite refreshing. And let’s see how next year maybe goes and go from
there. But it’s been fun so far.

“Honestly, I’m absolutely loving it. I think that’s kind of why even
though the results haven’t been what I would have liked, I’ve still had
a great time this year so far, because the environment I’ve loved.”

Jamie Chadwick Indy Nxt By Firestone At Iowa Speedway By Travis Hinkle
Ref Image Without Watermark M87914

Chadwick will be given the time in the States to progress without being
thrown under the bus, too.

Unlike in something like F2, where if you don’t win in your first year
you’ll struggle to be considered a future F1 driver and have to work
extra hard to turn your chances around there or buy your way in, in
America the ladder is more forgiving.

“You only have to look at some of the European drivers that have ended
up over here that have had success to kind of further that point,”
Chadwick adds to that.

Chadwick still aiming for F1 but is she on path to IndyCar?
Read more
A second season in Indy NXT would not rule Chadwick out of making the
jump to IndyCar if she demonstrates the improvement and ability to
warrant an IndyCar drive. If she doesn’t, there are no excuses, just
like for any driver and Chadwick knows that.

Chadwick does not expect anything to be handed to her on a plate and
she’s determined to earn it.

She thinks she can achieve her goals, so before people rule her out,
let’s give her the time to get on an even playing field with the
competition and deliver on what Chadwick knows she can do.

That’ll be the time to judge.

Not for me


10 hours ago
hope she does well.

Eva Freimann
12 hours ago
The season so far has been pretty low on highlights for women in
motorsports, as far as the categories that I watch go.

In single seaters, we have Chadwick, who clearly hasn't adapted quickly
enough, and Flörsch, who tends to qualify 26th or so. And on average
makes up about ten places, which is respectable, but it's still just
finishing 18th or whatever (kudos to getting the strategy right in Spa,
of course). I'm still a bit mystified about what happened to her stint
in LMP2 last season as she seemed to be actually quick there.
LMP2 now got Doriane Pin, whom I do rate, but who is having a
Mika-Häkkinen-retirement season. Okay, they did get a podium, but then
were already unlucky to get a 4th next time around, and since they just
seem to hit some trouble in every race since.
It's a similar story in GT3. Iron Dames, having switched away from
Ferrari, are having a really troubled season. They do seem more on pace
in their Porsche, but not as much in their Lamborghini. And usually
something happens that takes them out of contention. They are 2nd in
WEC, which looks good, but the individual results largely haven't been
Kinda the opposite, but probably the most bright spot this season so
far, is Lilou Wadoux with better individual results but less successful
on average; first woman to get a WEC win in category and did have some
really good stints. Certainly looks like a quick driver, at least in GTs.
Pretty solid over in GT America World Challenge is Ashton Harrison. Also
had some bad luck and is a bit difficult to rate - but two wins and
second in PRO category, that's certainly not bad.
Samantha Tan is also doing GTs but can't say she's shown much pace. When
she wasn't DNF'd by something.
IMSA GTD has Legge and Monk but I've only seen a little of that and they
too seem to be cursed with technical or other kremlins this season. No
idea about their pace.
Also British GT randomly had Esmee Hawkey in a Ginetta, but I'm not sure
she even got to do a single racing lap at speed. That car always had
some issue, and now she's been ditched (or ditched the team, dunno).

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sport / / Update on Jamie Chadwick


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