Note: Wednesday, Feb. 1 is National Girls & Women in Sports Day.
A spotlight continually follows Jamie Chadwick.
The inescapable glow gets brighter with every move, too, because each one is progress toward something bigger in motorsports.
A three-time champion in the all-female, free-to-enter W Series, Chadwick prepares for her next challenge with a continental move to the United States to drive the No. 28 Andretti Autosport entry for the 2023 season in INDY NXT by Firestone. It will mark the first time in 13 years a female has competed full time in the series.
The 24-year-old Briton is in the unique situation of not only managing her expectations as a competitor, but by default, also serving a role model for other aspiring women.
“I think there's very much two parts of that,” Chadwick said. “There's my own personal goals and things that I want to achieve myself and might not achieve, but that's very much in my own focus. There are also the people looking at me and wanting me to have success because of my gender and wanting to prove that it's possible. I don't necessarily want to have to carry that weight, but at the same time I'm aware that I do. So, I want to give it absolutely everything, this year and beyond, to make sure that for myself I can have success and I know that it is possible.
“When I look at things, I see it's going to be a challenge, but it's possible. But also, for that next generation coming through because ultimately this sport does need more women to even enter at the grassroots, and it's because they haven't got women at the top level that they can aspire to be like. So, if I can play a small part in that, I'd be very proud.”
A member of the Williams Driver Academy since 2019, Chadwick has shared many conversations over the years with seven-time Indianapolis 500 starter and fellow countrywoman Pippa Mann.
In many ways, there’s a sense of paying it forward as Chadwick acknowledges the likes of Danica Patrick -- the lone female to win in the NTT INDYCAR SERIES (Motegi, 2008), Simona De Silvestro and Mann, among those who helped clear the path for her.
The conversation of women in motorsports in nothing new, which is why Chadwick feels the W Series was impactful by putting action on a talking point and creating a place to be recognized.
“I think where the W Series had its benefits was it became a highly exposed series,” Chadwick said. “Young girls would hopefully watch it and not necessarily follow racing but would see 20 young girls line up on a grid and see that that's an option for them. They can start in go-karting, and they can do it, too.
“Ultimately, W Series unfortunately hasn't had the opportunity to continue at the moment. Hopefully, they can still find a way to survive, but if we can get more women in the likes of INDYCAR and in the likes of Formula One, then when you have the Indy 500 and there's 300,000 people watching live and likes of Pippa Mann and Danica that are lining up on the grid, the young girls can see them -- hopefully me one day -- and see that that is a definitely achievable option and that's something that they can do, as well. And it's not just one or two women on the grid, but it's a handful, and I think that's what we hopefully want to see in the future.”