• Australian W Series driver Caitlin Wood (W Series)Source: W Series
When Aussie W Series driver Caitlin Wood lines up on the starters grid at the Spa-Francorchamps track in Belgium this weekend, she will be racing for another opportunity behind the wheel.
By
Nick Houghton

26 Aug 2021 - 3:20 PM  UPDATED 26 Aug 2021 - 3:25 PM

Watch Aussie driver Caitlin Wood in action during W Series Round 5 action from Spa Francorchamps  - LIVE and FREE via SBS On Demand from 12:30am (AEST) on Saturday, August 28.

Wood - a product of Maitland in New South Wales’ Hunter Valley - is a reserve driver for this season of the W Series, meaning there is no certainty she gets to take to the track on race weekends.

The role often means a lot of hard work for no reward and plenty of uncertainty, but also the pressure to make the most of fleeting opportunities weighs heavy.

Wood was given her first drive for the season during Round 4 at Hungary’s Hungaroring track, ending a wait of more than 18 months between W Series appearances.

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Caitlin Wood is eager to get back on the grid and do Australia proud after being out of W Series action for almost two years.

Thankfully the gap between drives wasn’t as long this time around with Wood given a last-minute call-up to race for the Puma team during this weekend’s fifth round at the famous Spa-Francorchamps circuit in Belgium.

And while at times it has been a rollercoaster of ups and downs for Wood, she says it is helping her become a better driver.

“It has sort of been a humbling experience because for a lot of the season you are working hard to race but more often than not you are forced to watch other people do it,” Wood told SBS Sport.

“Even though I am a reserve, I am still a full-time driver and some weeks It is just not my turn to get into the car.

“You have to be ready to be on your toes at all times because you never know when you will be given the chance to race.”

“You have to be a little bit strict with yourself. Sometimes it is easy just to slack off because of the unknown. I think that’s where you as an individual athlete will shine if you just keep trying and keep persisting and do your best.

"It was such a great feeling to be back in the car, especially cause it had been such a long time.

"Obviously, last round didn’t go to plan with a mechanical failure in qualifying which killed all the momentum from a solid practice session.

"Getting the chance to back up and race two rounds in a row will help me find a bit more consistency. Hopefully I can pick up and carry on the momentum I had in practice."

Being able to contest this weekend’s W Series round has given Wood some extra motivation to succeed with the Aussie driver revealing the Spa-Francorchamps circuit sits alongside Bathurst as her two favourite tracks in the world.

The seven-kilometre epic is one of the longest circuits on the Formula 1 calendar and features both long fast straights and sections of technical cornering.

Wood said she expects this round to push every driver to their limits.

“The last time I got to race at Spa was back in 2016 so it feels like a lifetime ago. It was such a thrill to drive back then and I’m really excited to be able to do it again in the W Series,” she said.

“It is a circuit that certainly keeps you on your toes. Because it is such a long circuit the challenge at this level is really mental capacity and being able to get the whole lap right every time.

“The track has a bit of everything so for me that is what makes it such a rewarding place to race. You have to be fast in the straights but also able to get the medium and slow speed corners right.

“I’ve been doing my homework and I’m excited to get out there and race.”

Catch up on all the 2021 W Series action from Rounds 1-4 right here via SBS On Demand.

W Series set for SBS screens in 2021
SBS is proud to welcome the first and only women’s motor racing championship in the world to its Sport catalogue in 2021, the W Series.
 

2021 W Series upcoming live stream and replay schedule via SBS On Demand

 

Saturday, August 28

Round 5 Qualifying – Spa Francorchamps, Belgium

00:30 – 01:00 (AEST)

Available for live stream and catch up replay via SBS On Demand

 

Sunday, August 29

Round 5 Race - Spa Francorchamps, Belgium

00:30 – 01:10 (AEST)

Available for live stream and catch up replay via SBS On Demand