‘It meant a lot’: Jamie Chadwick ready to build on debut win in Indy NXT series

The British driver Jamie Chadwick is ready to build on her debut victory in the Indy NXT series after becoming the first woman to win on a road course in the US championship that is a feeder competition for IndyCar.

The 26-year-old from Bath, who took a podium earlier this season at Indianapolis, said the win at the Road America circuit in Wisconsin on Sunday was the highlight of her career.

“It’s probably the win I am most proud of,” she said. “A hard fought race, it is definitely the highest level I have had to do that, so it meant a lot. I am super optimistic, we have been in the top five on pace all year. I needed to bridge that gap to the top two, top three and we have done that now.

“There are tougher tracks coming up and we are not always going to be up there but I think we can definitely be in the fight every weekend, that’s what I want to focus on.”

Chadwick, in her second season in Indy NXT, took pole and then led to the flag over 20 laps for the Andretti team. She displayed the control and skill which returned her three titles in the W Series, not least with a two-lap shootout after a red flag toward the end of the race.

Her first season in Indy NXT was a major step up and she admits the physicality of the cars took some getting used to. However, in her second year, she feels she is now on top of the challenge.

“There was the podium, then the pole, then the win, three big moments where I have been able to feel we can genuinely be competitive in this championship,” she said. “That should be the expectation, you are there fighting for wins. That mindset is going to help for the rest of the year.”

Chadwick’s contract with Andretti ends at the end of this season but she believes there will be more opportunities to continue racing in the US and potentially the chance to advance to IndyCar if she continues to deliver.

“One race win in Indy NXT isn’t going to get me an IndyCar seat but a successful season and there are good opportunities,” she said. “It’s really simple, the guidelines I have been given by every team, if you win and you have success, you put yourself right on the front door. You just look at the amount who have graduated from Indy NXT to IndyCar, it proves that pathway does work.”

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Chadwick is the first woman to take a race win in the series since her fellow British driver Pippa Mann won in Kentucky in 2010, demonstrating the paucity of female drivers in the sport. Chadwick hopes, however, that change is under way.

“We should have more women competing in the sport in the first place,” she said. “F1 Academy and the W Series before that gave huge opportunities and we are seeing more and more young girls in karting. I think it is now a matter of time before we see a bigger shift.”

The Guardian

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