Bianca Bustamante is the only Asian karter among 14 chosen to join 2021 FIA Girls on Track – Rising Stars Global Scholarship Shootout
Filipina athletes are on the rise, from the Olympics, to golf, tennis and various other disciplines. Looks like another Pinay lass is poised to join the growing list as Bianca Bustamante is all revved up to become the country’s next Formula race driver.
The FIA (Federation Internationale de l’Automobile), motorsports’ worldwide governing body recently announced the inclusion of Bustamante, a 16-year-old race driver as one of 14 selected to participate in the 2021 FIA Girls on Track – Rising Stars Global Scholarship Shootout this October in France.
Bustamante is the only Asian among those chosen for this very prestigious scholarship launched by the FIA Women in Motorsport Commission in 2020 to promote more young women in motorsport.
The program was set up by Formula One’s governing body the FIA in conjunction with Scuderia Ferrari’s world-renowned Ferrari Driver Academy that has produced Formula One drivers like Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc, Red Bull’s Sergio Perez and Haas rookie Mick Schumacher, among others.
Bustamante is slated to travel to France from October 21 to 23 at the famous Paul Ricard Circuit, where the FIA French Formula One Grand Prix races are held for the shootout’s first challenge. In this three-day shootout, Bustamante and 13 other girls will conduct various race tests at the circuit, with the best eight performing drivers to be selected to attend FIA training camps. From there, they will head to Fiorano, Italy for final tests in Formula 4 cars. The winner will be recruited into the Ferrari Driver Academy with full race scholarships.
With racing in her blood, she started at the age of 5 and has won multiple karting championships across Asia : 4-time winner of the China Grand Prix Kart Scholarship, 3-time Macau International Kart GP Champion, 2-time Junior Asian Open Championship Overall Champion and Philippines National Junior Karter of the Year. In 2018, 2019 and 2019, the Automobile Association Philippines (AAP) awarded her as the Philippine Driver of the Year in Karting. AAP is the only FIA affiliate in the Philippines and is authorized to sanction all four-wheeled motor sport events in the country.
“We’re very proud that Bianca was selected for the FIA Girls on Track Shootout,” AAP Motor Sport Division Chair Mandy Eduque said. “She has been among the consistent awardees during our AAP Motor Sport Awards. We’ve seen her grow in karting. We hope the best for her and we’ll be rooting for her to get the Ferrari Driver Academy scholarship. We hope that more girls will be inspired by Bianca’s achievement.”
Bustamante now plans to move to professional Formula Racing and elevate her racing career to the next level.
“I am so proud to represent the Philippines in this competition and to be the only Asian driver selected is an added bonus, but also adds a bit of pressure to represent the Asian region against the global field. I will continue to train hard leading up to the event and do my best in France,” Bustamante said.
Alvin Uy wears many hats, foremost among them being an executive for a home improvement chain and real estate developer and part of a family-owned chemical business. Aside from writing about motoring news and car reviews, he loves to write about traveling, food and wine reviews, mechanical timepieces and classic cars.