Bianca Bustamente and Juju Noda are the confirmed two drivers for the W Series Academy Team.
The new duo will be the youngest drivers to take the grid for the next two seasons.
The W Series Academy programme is supporting the development of young females across motorsport. The ladies will have intensive mentoring and coaching to propel their driving and racing skills. Their on track to receive everything from fitness and nutrition to media training for event and community outreach. This will help for personal and professional development.
Hailing from Laguna, Phillipines, Bianca braved the karting world since age five. This led to becoming a three-time Philippines Karting Driver of the Year as well as accolades as a two-time Asian Junior Karting Open champion, four-time China Grand Prix Kart Scholarship winner and three-time Macau International Kart GP champion. She stood out to FIA Girls on Track and was awarded the 2021 Track Rising Stars scholarship.
All my life, I’ve had my sights set on Formula 1, and now my racing career has taken a big step in the right direction thanks to W Series. There’s still a lot of work to do, and every day I’m learning because everything is still new to me. I’ve enjoyed every moment so far learning what it takes to become a professional driver, and I’m going to give it my all both on and off the track.
Bustamente is only 17 and has been training hard physically and mentally to focus on her future. She’s excited to be paired with a new teammate and showcase what the next generation of drivers can do.
Juju Noda nailed karting since age three and entered F4 before turning 10. Talk about determination. By 12, she was in F3 and then joined the 2020 Danish F4 championship at age 14. Juju joined the league of rising stars when she won a race and took three podium finishes. At 16, her debut with W Series was during the pre-season testing in Barcelona.
Representing Japan, Juju said, “I’m still young, but I’ve already been racing for a long time and I’m ready to take the next step in my career with W Series. I’ve watched lots of W Series races in the past and the standard is very high, so this is a great opportunity and I really like what W Series is trying to do for females in motorsport. Everything is new to me with these cars so I wasn’t sure what to expect, but the pre-season testing helped me get up to speed and I’ve been training hard physically and mentally to prepare myself.
She added, “I don’t feel pressure, I just want to do well, and I appreciate all the support that people give me. I can’t wait to start the season in Miami, and I’m obviously looking forward to racing in front of my home crowd at the Japanese Grand Prix in October. I’ve never raced at Suzuka before, so that will be a very special weekend and I’ll be giving it everything.” So far, she’s entered 29 races, celebrated three wins, achieved five pole positions and knows how to hold the fastest lap.
W Series continues to provide grand opportunities to talented females within the working world of motorsport.
W Series Racing Director, Dave Ryan stated, “W Series aims to give opportunities to the most talented female racing drivers in the world, and we have been tracking the progress of Bianca and Juju for some time now. We knew they had raw skill but, since joining us and working with the team at this year’s pre-season tests, they’ve also shown consistency in the car and a willingness to learn. We’ve put our faith in them by giving them W Series race seats for two years and dedicated race engineers, and it’s now up to them to repay it by continuing to work hard. If they do so, they have every chance of going on to achieve great things with W Series and further up the motorsport ladder.”
The W Series Academy Team drivers, Bianca and Juju will debut at Formula 1’s Miami Grand Prix during the weekend of 06-08 May 2022. See you there! Full W Series schedule can be seen below.
Following on from our announcement yesterday, take a look at our updated 10 race calendar. 🗓