W Series will begin its selection process for the eight free seats on its grid for the 2020 season with a three-day test next month.

The all-female W Series concluded its inaugural season last weekend at Brands Hatch, with the top 12 finishers in the championship being guaranteed a seat on the grid for the 2020 campaign.

In a statement issued by the series on Friday, it was confirmed that "about 40" applications have already been received for the eight free slots on the grid next year, with the first set of evaluations set to take place at the Circuito de Almeria from September 16-18.

“As soon as one W Series season ends, another one begins; or, to be precise, the preparations for another one begin. The 2019 W Series season has been a roaring success, but we fully intend that the 2020 W Series season will be bigger and better," W Series CEO Catherine Bond Muir said.

“I’m excited to discover the quality of our new applicants, and there’s no better way of appraising them than putting them in W Series race cars for three days, so that’s what we’re going to do."

Dave Ryan, W Series’ Racing Director, added: “Prior to the 2019 W Series season, we tested all our drivers at Almeria in W Series race cars – Tatuus T-318 Formula 3 cars powered by 270bhp 1.8-litre in-line four-cylinder turbo engines made by Autotecnica Motori – and we plan to put our new applicants through exactly the same process.

“We’ll have one or two drivers from the pool of 12 who are already guaranteed a 2020 W Series drive on hand too, to post comparative lap-times, the better to enable us to understand the ability and speed of our aspiring newcomers.

“To be clear, the eight drivers who finished outside the top 12 in the 2019 W Series championship are not ineligible for our 2020 season; they’re merely not guaranteed to take part in it.

"Inevitably they’re now on tenterhooks, eager to race with us again next season, but whether they do or not will to a great extent depend on the quality of the newcomers we test at Almeria in a month’s time."

The top 12 finishers from this year's W Series were: Jamie Chadwick (UK), Beitske Visser (NLD), Alice Powell (UK), Marta Garcia (ESP), Emma Kimilainen (FIN), Fabienne Wohlwend (LIE), Miki Koyama (JPN), Sarah Moore (UK), Vicky Piria (ITA), Tasmin Pepper (RSA), Jessica Hawkins (UK) and Sabre Cook (USA).