Abbi Pulling to make W Series debut at British GP
British F4 frontrunner Abbi Pulling will make her W Series debut at the upcoming British GP at Silverstone, stepping in for Tasmin Pepper in the PUMA car.
The all-female championship W Series announced the next reserve driver to step in the second PUMA car that should have been driven by Tasmin Pepper, as the South African is currently hit by the international travel restrictions. At the first two rounds of the season, it was Gosia Rdest out of the five reserve drivers to step in and get back behind the wheel of the Tatuus F3 car, almost two years after her last race in single-seaters. The Polish woman had a very positive first race and scored points, finishing ninth at the Styrian round. She was P17 following a contact mid-way through the race. It will be now Abbi Pulling's time to shine at the home round at Silverstone: the 18 year old Briton will make her W Series debut alongside Marta Garcia and, interestingly, will race for the first time on the same grid as her mentor Alice Powell, who has been coaching Pulling in the British F4 championship since 2020. Pulling – one of the most interesting female prospects in all F4 championships – was invited to the five-day pre-season test at Anglesey, Wales, where she impressed the W Series technical team. "Abbi impressed us at the pre-season test at Anglesey where she bonded with the team, worked hard and had some good sessions in the car." – stated Dave Ryan, Racing Director at W Series. "Her career is progressing well and I look forward to seeing how she handles the next step up at Formula 1's British Grand Prix weekend." It will be Pulling's first experience at the British GP weekend, but not her first time in a F3 car in a F1 supporting weekend: she had in fact entered the Imola round of the Formula Regional European Championship in 2020, effectively her racing debut in the Tatuus T318 car after an outstanding season in British F4. In her rookie season in single-seaters, Pulling scored four podiums and was close to clinching her maiden victory. Under the mentorship of W Series race winner Alice Powell, Pulling made steady progress and opted for a second season in the British-based Formula 4 championship, with the clear target of battling for the title. After the first three weekends, she added two more podiums to her name and is now ready to take on the challenge in the all-female championship. "I'm over the moon to be making my W Series debut at Silverstone and I want to show people what I can do." – said Pulling. "I’ve never been to the British Grand Prix weekend before and I can't even begin to imagine what the atmosphere will be like racing in front of a full home crowd. It will be a very special occasion and, whatever the result, something that will stay with me forever." Abbi's only previous experience of the Silverstone GP circuit layout was in the 2019 Ginetta GT5 Challenge, when she scored her first top-10 in cars. Surely, she will now rely on the support of Alice Powell, now third in the standings after a dominant victory in the opening round. "I wouldn't be where I am now without Alice." – she continues. "My whole perspective changed when I started working with her last year. She is constantly training or doing something to benefit her racing – the amount of work she puts in is crazy and of a very high standard. She opened my eyes and made me realise how hard I need to work to achieve my goal of reaching F1, which feels like a realistic one thanks to her." "Alice has helped me technically, mentally and physically and my results have improved so much. W Series' pre-season test at Anglesey couldn't have gone much better for me and I'll head to Silverstone feeling competitive. The 'AP squad' will certainly be one of the biggest stories of the weekend, as the two drivers will go against each other for the first time on track. A really close relationship outside the track, yet fierce competitors on track: "We've been joking about racing together at Silverstone and, though we'll race hard if we come up against each other, we'll be fair." – adds Alice Powell. "I know she'll be working hard to achieve a great result on debut and it will be a proud moment for me to see her racing at the British Grand Prix weekend." "It will be strange racing against Alice and I hope it goes better than the only previous time it happened when we collided during a go-kart race!" – responds the youngster. "We won't be easy on each other, but I know that Alice and lots of the other girls are trying to win the championship and I'm a reserve driver, so I'll be respectful of that." Abbi Pulling is arguably one of the most interesting up-and-coming female talents in single-seaters and W Series provides her with a bigger platform already in her second year of racing. "Abbi is a serious talent." – echoed Powell, who is also training with Pulling everyday, both with a personalised fitness program and at the simulator. "She hasn't had that much experience in single seaters because budget has been an issue, so it's great that W Series has given her this chance on the biggest stage. Given the right opportunities and backing, Abbi can go all the way and achieve her goal of reaching Formula 1." The third round of the W Series 2021 season will get underway in two week's time, on 16-17 July at Silverstone.