Filipina kart racer Bianca Bustamante secured a chance to boost her career in motor sport by qualifying for the International Automobile Federation (FIA) Girls on Track Rising Stars program in France.
The 16-year-old is the only Asian to be selected for the entire program, which will feature junior and senior categories.
The reigning Philippine Driver of the Year in karting will participate in the 14-racer field senior category and compete for a scholarship to join the Ferrari Driver Academy, which will be vital for her professional career.
“It’s a dream come true. I’ve worked really hard for this,” said Bustamante on Tuesday, September 7, in the weekly online Philippine Sportswriters Association Forum.
A three-day shootout will be staged from October 21 to 23 at the Circuit Paul Ricard track for the preliminary round, where the top eight finishers will advance to training camps for karting and F4 racing.
Only the top four drivers from the training camps in France will be sent to a one-week training camp with Ferrari in Fiorano, Italy, where the prized winner of the slot will be selected.
Bustamante is looking to ride on her success in the sport after collecting four titles in the China Grand Prix and three in the Macau GP while bagging two Junior Asian Karting Open Championships.
Aside from being a three-time Philippine Driver of the Year awardee, she also bagged the Philippine National Junior Karter of the Year plum in 2018.
“Bianca has been preparing for this moment. This is a short program that’s why she has to prove herself quickly,” said Hong Kong-based manager, Darryl O’Young of Craft Bamboo Racing, who’s been looking after Bustamante’s racing career as well as boosting her overall image.
“She’ll be a great ambassador for the sport. She’s humble and outgoing and has a lot of potential.”
Bustamante started racing when she was 5 years old after being inspired by her father who loved karting as a hobby.
Despite the challenges of the country’s COVID-19 protocols, she did not stop training at the Clark International Circuit in order to prepare herself for the prestigious opportunity. – Rappler.com