Tasmin Pepper will compete in the DTM roadshow starting at Hockenheim, Germany, on May 3-4. Picture: SUPPLIED
Tasmin Pepper will compete in the DTM roadshow starting at Hockenheim, Germany, on May 3-4. Picture: SUPPLIED

SA’s Tasmin Pepper has been confirmed as one of 18 drivers to compete in the inaugural international W Series single-seater championship for women in 2019.

Hailing from Johannesburg, Pepper, 28, is SA’s reigning Volkswagen Polo Cup Masters champion. Despite her young age,  she has vast motorsport experience, having started karting at the age of five before moving into single-seaters and saloon cars.

The W Series will make history by being the first all-female single-seater racing series, and the 18 women represent 13 nationalities. Pepper made the cut out of an original 64 candidates from around the world in a rigorous selection process driving Formula 3 cars at Spain’s Circuito de Almeria last week.

The series will see the 18 finalists competing against one another in identical single-seater race cars in a six-round championship around Europe as part of the DTM roadshow, starting at Hockenheim in Germany on May 3-4.

“I am beyond grateful for this amazing opportunity and can’t wait for it all to begin,” Pepper told Motor News after making the cut.

“The adjustment to single-seater was at first quite difficult for me compared to racing a saloon car. The competition was really strong, but then I got to grips with the car and everything on the last day just clicked. Being selected for the W Series means everything, and it’s what I’ve always worked for: to make it overseas.”

Pepper says her goal is to gain as much experience as possible in Formula W en route to her ultimate goal: a possible drive in Formula One.

“Now that I’m in the international racing scene, it’s closer to that dream. I’ve been racing for 24 years and now something finally has clicked.”

Pepper’s most recent racing success back home was winning the Masters category and finishing second overall in the competitive one-make Polo Cup saloon car series in 2018. Polo Cup has been a launchpad for a number of successful overseas racing careers, including siblings Sheldon and Kelvin van der Linde as well as Pepper’s brother, Jordan Pepper.

Pepper is back in SA and will be a presenter at the AutoTrader SA Car of the Year awards being held on Thursday April 4.

The following drivers will race in the W Series: Jamie Chadwick, UK; Sabre Cook, US; Marta Garcia, Spain; Megan Gilkes, Canada; Esmee Hawkey, UK; Jessica Hawkins, UK; Shea Holbrook, US; Emma Kimilainen, Finland; Miki Koyama, Japan; Sarah Moore, UK; Tasmin Pepper, SA; Vicky Piria, Italy; Alice Powell, UK; Gosia Rdest, Poland; Naomi Schiff, Belgium; Beitske Visser, Netherlands; Fabienne Wohlwend, Liechtenstein; and Caitlin Wood, Australia.