Five Britons to compete in inaugural all-female W Series

Alice Powell, the first woman to win a Formula Renault championship, is one of five Brits to take part in the first ever W Series. Virendra Singh Gosain/Hindustan Times via Getty Images

Britain will have five drivers, more than any other nation, competing in an 18-woman field at the first edition of the all-female W Series.

Jamie Chadwick, Esmee Hawkey, Jessica Hawkins, Sarah Moore and Alice Powell were all named on Thursday in the line-up for the six-round championship, which is due to start at Germany's Hockenheim circuit on May 3.

Thirteen nationalities will be represented in total, driving Tatuus F-318 Formula Three cars in the first all-female single-seater motorsport series. The overall winner will collect $500,000, with prize money down to 18th place, and the final race will be at Britain's Brands Hatch in August.

In 2015, 20-year-old Chadwick became the first female driver to win a British GT championship, and last year she became the first woman to win a round of the British Formula Three series.

Powell, 26, is the first woman to have won a Formula Renault championship and also scored points in GP3, now renamed as Formula Three.

David Coulthard -- W Series advisory board chairman and former F1 racer -- said: "This has been a more difficult selection process than we ever could have dreamt of, in terms of how close it has been across the field.

"The rate of learning has been really impressive to see, and that's absolutely what we need to see in those who have relatively little experience in single-seaters, but have got natural speed."

More than 100 applicants from around the world had sought to join the new series, the aim of which is to help women move up the motorsport ladder and compete in Formula One for the first time since 1976.

The 18 finalists, plus four reserves, were selected from a shortlist of 28 who were put through their paces in qualifiers at the Circuito de Almeria in southern Spain after earlier trials in Austria.