Pinay teenager earns spot in prestigious karting program


Posted at Sep 08 2021 02:06 PM

MANILA, Philippines -- A 16-year-old Filipina kart racer is raising the country's profile in the international circuit.

Bianca Bustamante, who has been racing since she was five years old, will soon leave for France to join the FIA Girls on Track Rising Stars at the famous Circuit Paul Ricard track near Marseille.

Bustamante will be the only Asian among the 14 drivers in the senior category. The three-day shootout runs from October 21 to 23, and the top eight junior and senior finishers will advance to separate training camps for karting and F4.

The top four in each group will then get to attend the prestigious Ferrari Driver Academy. At stake in that camp is a slot in the International Karting season with full support from Ferrari.

"It's a dream come true. I've worked really hard for this," said Bustamante in an appearance at the Philippine Sportswriters Association Forum on Tuesday.

Bustamante said she has been preparing mentally and physically after earning the slot. As long as quarantine protocols permit, she trains at the Clark International Circuit.

"It's a bit difficult," she admitted, citing the limitations brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic. "But I've been preparing really hard. I've been training all my life."

Bustamante was encouraged to take up the sport by her father, and is now the reigning Philippine Driver of the Year in Karting.

Joining Bustamante in the forum was her Hong Kong-based manager, Daryl O'Young of Craft Bamboo Racing (CBR).

"Bianca has been preparing for this moment," Young assured. "This is a short program, that's why she has to prove herself quickly. She'll be a great ambassador for the sport."