If somebody had told me that a 16-year-old race car driver would emerge from the Philippines at this time, I might have been 100% confident that we were talking about Iñigo Anton.
But it turns out we’re discussing a girl. Kids (and adults), allow me to introduce Bianca Bustamante.
Bustamante is currently making waves in motorsports after having been announced as part of 14 drivers that will test cars for the W Series. If you’re not familiar with this series, it’s the all-female version of open-wheel racing. It had its inaugural season in 2019, skipped a season in 2020 because of the pandemic, and resumed in 2021. Both the 2019 and 2021 seasons were won by Jamie Chadwick.
According to the press release that circulated today:
The test will be held in Formula 4 machinery, as the W Series look to familiarize themselves with a new group of drivers and understand what they are capable of. Bustamante is humbled to be invited as the Asia representative to test and learn amongst 14 top young female drivers from around the world. The rising star will be leaving from the Philippines today, as she heads to the USA in preparation for the test.
Leading up to the W Series event, Bustamante will also take part in a two-day test with Doran-Kroll Competition, an F4 US championship team. The test will be held at Buttonwillow Raceway in California on the 17th and 18th of January. She will be joined by British racing driver Richard Lyons who will take up the role as her coach for the test. Working alongside a professional team, Bustamante will be able to understand her strengths and weaknesses in the F4 car, making her better prepared for the W Series test and her future racing pursuits.
If you’re wondering what Bianca’s credentials are, her LinkedIn profile enumerates the following:
- 4-time China Grand Prix Kart Scholarship Winner (2018, 2019)
- 3-time Macao International Kart GP Champion (2014, 2018, 2019)
- 2-time Junior Asian Karting Open Championship Overall Champion (2018, 2019)
- 3-time Philippine Driver of the Year – Karting (2018, 2019, 2020)
- 2-time Philippine International Junior Karter of the Year (2018, 2019)
- 2-time Philippine National Senior Karter of the Year (2019, 2020)
- Philippine National Junior Karter of the Year (2018)
- 3-time ROK GP Junior Petron Blaze 100 Philippines Overall Champion (2016, 2018, 2019)
- 2-time Petron Blaze 100 IAME Series Philippines Overall Champion (2018, 2019)
- 2-time AAP National Karting Series Senior Class Champion (2019, 2020)
- 2-time Boy Ochoa Awardee (2018, 2019)
- 2-time representative of the Philippines in the IAME World Finals (2018, 2019)
- 2-time representative of the Philippines in the ROK Super Finals (2018, 2019)
- AAP National Karting Series Junior Class Champion (2018)
- 2-time Rok Cup China Winner (2017)
- Qualified 4th at the Race of Stars Australia (2017)
- 1st Runner-Up in the IAME X30 Asia Finals (2017)
- Super Karting Series Overall Champion (2016)
- Kart Championship of Thailand Overall Champion (2016)
- North America Simraceway LO206 Junior 1 Overall Champion (2015)
- KKC Northern California Champion (2015)
- KAT – BIRA Asian Karting Junior Champion (2015)
To be clear, Bianca Bustamante is not the first female racer to come out of this country—Michele Bumgarner comes to mind. But I admit that she seems to have more promise. Get to know her more via her Instagram account.