F4: AN HISTORIC DEBUT FOR JUFFALI
Updated: May 2, 2019
Reema Juffali becomes the first Saudi racer to compete internationally after women-driving ban is raised.
The Brands Hatch racetrack has certainly witnessed many memorable races through the years and written indelible pages in the history of motor racing. We'll dare to say that this weekend one more page has been added to its books: the international racing debut of Reema Juffali.
While it may feel strange to describe in such a pompous terms the first steps of a young driver in a F4 car, the story behind Juffali will offer some more insights: Reema was born in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, 27 years ago and is the first racing driver to represent her country internationally, literally few months away after her country lifted a ban on women drivers.
Saudi Arabia issued driving licences to women for the first times in June 2018.
Within months, Juffali climbed for the first time in a race car.
“One of the great things about motorsport is that women and men can compete against one another on an even playing field. Being the only woman amongst men has never affected me.” - commented Juffali.
Aside the inevitable symbolic importance of her challenge, Juffali has taken her racing commitments very seriously and has chosen the competitive British F4 as a first step for her career. This is just the beginning of her journey and she's well aware of that: “In terms of tracks, I think this is the most complex set of circuits that we have in the calendar and for me, someone who has no experience, I think it’s a good place to be put on the edge and be thrown out in the deep end.” - she says with maturity. “I’m learning something new every day. For now, it’s about taking it step by step and making sure I develop my skills as a driver.”
At the heart of European motorsport, Juffali completed all three races in Brand Hatch and even managed to pick up some points. A solid start of the season that went beyond her expectations: “I went into this weekend with certain goals in mind and I managed to achieve them, so I’m very happy about that."
The Saudi driver, competing for top team Double-R Racing and ambassador for the Sean Edwards Foundation, has received wide support from friends, family and the whole motorsport community.
“It all happened so fast, I’ve been training for 6 weeks now and here I was at my first single seater race in the UK. I remember laughing before my first race in disbelief. It’s incredible,”
Juffali will be back on track at Donington on 27-28 April, looking to build on the experience she made in the inaugural round.
In her words:
“The support I received has been amazing. I’m fortunate to be able to do what I love and have a positive impact on the lives of others. If I’ve inspired others to go after their passion, then that’s a win I’ll treasure. "