When Jamie Chadwick began race-car driving, there were relatively few women around her. While motor-sports have skyrocketed in popularity in the U.S.—with the hit Netflix series Formula 1: Drive to Survive and drivers sitting front row at fashion week—it wasn’t until the 2019 debut of the W Series, an all-female race, that women became a more visible presence in the sport. And one of the fastest-rising stars is 25-year-old Chadwick, who won the W Series in each of the three years it took place.
After a 2021 victory, Chadwick found herself standing on a Budapest victory podium, in front of a prominent Rolex crown logo. “I remember thinking that to be associated with Rolex would be the dream,” she recalls. A year later, she was tapped to serve as one of the brand’s “testimonees,” making her the first female motorsport athlete to receive the designation. Other testimonees include tennis player Coco Gauff and conductor Gustavo Dudamel. They’re meant to offer testimony to the performance of Rolex timepieces, hence the name. (The first testimonee was Mercedes Gleitze, whose swim across the English Channel in 1927 while wearing a Rolex provided indelible proof of its water resistance.)
As a child on the Isle of Man, Chadwick loved adrenaline-fueled sports, but when she began kart racing at 11, it became her focus. By 14, she was racing cars, and at 16, she knew she’d found her calling. Now one of the biggest names in her field, she’s seeing a new world for women in racing, particularly thanks to the W Series. The event “was amazing in terms of diversifying the category of professionalized women’s motor sports overnight,” she says. “We are seeing a movement that is helping to change the face of women in sports.” Recently, Chadwick competed in the 2023 Indy NXT season, and she’s a member of the Williams Driver Academy, an offshoot of the Williams Racing Formula 1 team, which promotes emerging motorsport talent with the hope of having them one day joining the team’s ranks. Becoming a Formula 1 driver is her ultimate dream.
When Chadwick is off duty, she opts for Rolex’s Yacht-Master 37 in Everose gold with a black strap in Oysterflex, an elastomer-coated material. “As a racing driver, I wanted a sporty style—one that I can wear day to day. It’s rarely off my wrist,” she says. The style represents “an important moment in my life,” she says, “and makes me reflect on that achievement which is even more poignant now.”
A version of this article appears in the November 2023 issue of ELLE.
Adrienne Gaffney is the features editor at ELLE and previously worked at WSJ Magazine and Vanity Fair.