W Series expands testing program to America

W Series testing program
Jared C. Tilton / Getty Images
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Following a successful debut for the W Series on U.S. soil last year, the international single-seater motor racing championship for female drivers announced a new testing program in America.

The session will be conducted Jan. 31 through Feb. 4 at Inde Motorsports Ranch near Tucson, Arizona.

Fourteen drivers have been invited to attend the five-day test, ranging in age from 15-year-old Nicole Havrda, a native of Canada, to Corinna Kamper, 27, from Austria. Eleven countries are represented in the test, including three Americans: Madison Aust, 16, Chloe Chambers, 17, and Lindsay Brewer, 24.

Inde Motorsports Ranch is a 2.75-mile circuit that can be reconfigured into multiple layouts to facilitate the assessment.

The international list of drivers will be evaluated in U.S. specification F4 cars by W Series Racing Director Dave Ryan and his team.

“The purpose of this test is to get to know a new group of drivers and understand what they are capable of as we finalize our 2022 driver line-up and look to the future,” Ryan, the series’ racing director, said in a release. “All of the drivers who will be with us in Arizona have demonstrated talent and potential in their careers so far and, while some may be a year or two away from racing in W Series, this is an opportunity for them to showcase their skills and for us to accelerate their development.

“The final round of our 2021 season at the Circuit of the Americas was very successful and proved what a great appetite there is for W Series in the USA. I am therefore delighted to be staging this test at the Inde Motorsports Ranch with a great group of drivers, many of whom have experience of racing in the Americas.”

The test marks the start of the 2022 W Series season. The full calendar of races, preseason testing and the driver lineup will be announced at a later date.

The American test is intended to continue to build on the excitement from the W Series first trip to America last year, which saw Jamie Chadwick and Alice Powell enter the final weekend at the Circuit of the Americas tied in points. Chadwick, who also competed in Extreme E last year, swept the weekend at COTA and walked away with the championship.

Ken Roczen signs with HEP Progressive Ecstar Suzuki for 2023

Roczen Progressive Ecstar Suzuki
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ANAHEIM, California – Ken Roczen will make the move from HRC Honda to H.E.P. Motorsports with the Progressive Ecstar Suzuki team, ending a long and eventful offseason that saw his split from his longstanding team after he committed to running World Supercross (WSX).

“H.E.P. Motorsports is thrilled to announce that the team has signed Ken Roczen as its premier rider for the 2023 season,” the team announced on Instagram. “Former AMA Motocross champion Roczen will be aboard a Suzuki RM-Z450. Roczen, who won his most recent championship on a Suzuki, will be reunited with the brand and bring his exciting style, determination, and grit back to the RM Army.

“Ken Roczen will compete in the upcoming 2023 Supercross and Motocross Championship series which is set to start on January 7 at Anaheim Stadium in Southern California.”

For Roczen, it is a return to the bike of his youth and on which he had some of his greatest professional success.

“This thing has been going on for weeks and weeks and weeks in the making, but there was so much uncertainty,” Roczen told NBC Sports during Monster Energy Supercross Media Sessions. “It was a very unique situation. I just finally signed two nights ago, so it’s really only legit once the ink hits the paper. It’s been in the works for a long time, but there were just a lot of questions and a lot of input from a lot of other teams too.

“Good things take time, and I’m okay with that. I grew up riding Suzuki. Ot’s like a homecoming. It’s a special feeling”

Roczen won the 2016 Lucas Oil Pro Motocross Championship on a Suzuki before making the move to Honda. That year he won nine of 12 Nationals and finished no worse than second as he easily outpaced Eli Tomac by 86 points. He finished third in his next Pro Motocross outing in 2018 after sitting out the outdoor season in 2017.

“I am beyond excited to reconnect with Suzuki for the 3rd time in my career. We’ve had a lot of success in the past and I’m looking forward to seeing what we can accomplish together in our future.” Roczen said in the Instagram post.