Attention, race fans! Pinay racecar driver Bianca Bustamante was recently announced as the newest member of the McLaren Driver Development Programme. The 18-year-old will be representing ART Grand Prix alongside the British team and donning its iconic papaya orange livery in the F1 Academy 2024 grid.
This news is made all the more special as she is the *first* female driver of McLaren's driver development program. ICYDK, this program has previously honed the skills of current Formula One grid drivers Lewis Hamilton and Lando Norris.
"This is such an unreal moment in my career, to sign with McLaren and ART Grand Prix is way beyond anything I could’ve ever imagined growing up racing karts in the Philippines," Bianca gushed. "I still have a hard time seeing my name next to McLaren without getting emotional, as the history and heritage linked to this team leaves me truly speechless."
She continued: "2023 was all about improving my speed which I demonstrated across several races this year, but in 2024 my aim is to establish consistency and improve my mental strength in order to make a title challenge in the coming F1 Academy season."
ICYDK, Bianca was previously with PREMA Racing where she earned a podium finish at the opening race at Spielberg and two victories at Valencia and Monza.
The F1 Academy is the all-female single-seater racing founded by Formula One, with its inaugural season happening in 2023. The program aims to develop and hone young drivers to progress to higher levels of competition.
We can't wait to see what you'll achieve with McLaren, Bianca!