Reema Juffali takes first F1 Academy wildcard spot in Jeddah

February 21, 2024

Saudi Gazette report

JEDDAH — Reema Juffali, Saudi Arabia’s first-ever female racing driver, has been confirmed as the wildcard entry for the first round of the 2024 Formula 1 Academy in Jeddah.

Wildcards will feature in F1 Academy throughout 2024. The first round of the 2024 Formula 1 Academy series will be held at the Jeddah Corniche Circuit from March 7 to 9.

“It is an honor and a privilege to be representing my country, especially in my hometown,” said Juffali. “The day F1 arrived in Jeddah was the clash of both my worlds and now I am actually going to be participating! I’m really looking forward to it and happy to share the experience with my friends and family who are based here,” the 32-year-old racer said.

“As the saying goes: ‘if you can’t see it, you won’t believe it’. So, hopefully Saudi fans can see that there is a Saudi racing driver out there and it will get them to thinking that ‘this is something I can do!,” she said, adding, “it is for this reason I have decided to take this challenge on. This is just the beginning!”

For his part, Prince Khalid bin Sultan Al-Abdullah Al-Faisal, chairman of the Board of Directors of the Saudi Automobile and Motorcycle Federation and the Saudi Motor Sport Company, expressed his happiness over the participation of Juffali as a champion in the first round of the 2024 Formula 1 Academy series. “I cannot think of a better person than her to represent Saudi Arabia in the first round of the 2024 Formula 1 Academy Series at the Jeddah Corniche Circuit, which will be held during the Saudi Grand Prix (STC) events.

“The remarkable achievements that Juffali has made on and off the track have helped inspire a generation of young men and women, and she represents a symbol of everything that the Saudi people can and will achieve,” Prince Khalid said, adding, “we are excited to work with Juffali as we look forward to making history together in Jeddah.”

Juffali was able to prove herself as an inspiration and role model for female athletes in the Kingdom, and around the world, after she became interested in cars at an early age, and was able to make history in 2018 when she became the first Saudi female racing driver to participate in an international championship, with her racing debuts in the TRD 86 Cup and MRF Challenge.

She went on to secure frequent points-scoring finishes in the F4 British Championship the next year. In addition, she became the first Saudi Arabian woman to compete in an international race in her home country, driving in the Jaguar I-PACE eTROPHY. Off the back of her 2021 GB3 Championship campaign, the Jeddah-born racer switched over to endurance racing with a stellar debut, finishing second in her class at the 2022 Dubai 24 Hours.

Alongside this, she founded her own team, Theeba Motorsport, to improve Saudi Arabian access and participation in motorsport through educational and internship programs. From there, she helped the team secure victory in the 2022 International GT Open, making Juffali the first Saudi Arabian woman to win an international motor race, alongside achieving the Vice Championship title in the series’ Pro-Am class. Juffali also continued to break new ground in the Fanatec GT World Challenge Europe Sprint Cup last year, becoming both the first female and first Saudi Arabian driver to claim pole position.

The second season of the Formula 1 Women’s Academy series will start in the Kingdom on March 7 and end in Abu Dhabi on December 8. In addition to the Kingdom and the Emirates, hosts of the opening and closing rounds, Miami, Qatar and Singapore will join the championship calendar for the first time, in addition to the Dutch Circuit Zandvoort and Barcelona in Spain for the second year in a row

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