Teen Filipino racer chosen in 2021 FIA Girls on Track Rising Stars program

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, September 7) – A rising Filipino racecar driver was chosen to be part of a global initiative aiming to increase women participation in motorsports.

16-year-old Bianca Bustamante was chosen as one of the 14 young female kart racers in the senior category of the 2021 Fédération Internationale de l'Automobile (FIA) Girls on Track Rising Stars program.

Bustamante is also the lone Asian selected to compete in the shootout, where the winner will receive a scholarship in the prestigious Ferrari Driving Academy in Italy.

The Ferrari Driving Academy is where the likes of Sergio Perez, Charles Leclerc, and Mick Schumacher honed their skills before racing in the Formula One (F1).

The Filipina racing wunderkind expressed confidence that she can withstand any pressure as she prepares for the three-day shootout from Oct. 21-23 at the famed Circuit Paul Richard, the venue of the F1 French Grand Prix.

“Making it into motorsport is very difficult. You need to make a lot of time, discipline, and you need to train your mind. It’s not just driving,” said Bustamante during the virtual Philippine Sportswriters Association Forum on Tuesday.

Bustamante, who started karting at the age of three, hopes her upcoming stint in the FIA-backed young drivers’ initiative will inspire other women to participate in motorsports.

“One of the greatest challenges that I faced is I’m a woman and it’s very difficult to compete head-to-head with other men. What matters is how you stand back,” she said.

Former karting champion Darryl O’Young, who manages the career of Bustamante, said the Filipina’s inclusion in the program will further boost women participation in motorsports.

Currently, female drivers race in the W Series, which held its inaugural season in 2019.

“I’m really glad they’re concentrating in diversifying the sport. She’ll be a great ambassador for the sport. She’s humble and outgoing and has a lot of potential,” said O’Young.

Bustamante won the Philippines Driver of the Year award for three years from 2018-2020 and the defending Junior Asian Karting Open Champion. She also bagged the Philippines National Junior Karter of the Year in 2018.

After the three-day shootout at the Paul Ricard Circuit, only eight drivers will be selected to attend a two-day FIA training camp.

The top four drivers in the 2021 FIA Girls on Track Rising Stars program will be chosen to test Formula 4 cars in Fiorano, Italy.