Bianca Bustamante joins USF Juniors grid for COTA round
Two-time F1 Academy race winner Bianca Bustamante will join Exclusive Autosport for the final round of the USF Juniors Championship at COTA, in preparation for the F1 Academy season finale in October.
Two-time F1 Academy race winner Bianca Bustamante is set to make an appearance in the USF Juniors championship for the final round of the season at COTA, Texas, as she prepares for the F1 Academy season finale which will run for the first time in conjunction with F1. The Philippine rising star will in fact return to the USF Juniors Presented by Cooper Tires, where she made her single-seater debut in 2022, as she prepared for W Series. Bustamante contested the first four races of the season, scoring a top 10 at debut at Ozarks International Raceway. One year later, Bianca has been making impressive improvements thanks to experience in W Series, Indian Racing League, F4 UAE, F1 Academy and Italian F4. With a three-month break between the F1 Academy's last European race at Paul Ricard to the season finale in Austin, Bustamante will take the opportunity to continue her progress in race cars with a USF Juniors appearance and will join the ranks of top team Exclusive Autosport for the August 25-27 weekend. This opportunity has been made possible through the support of her title partner, Lance East Exotics. “America holds an incredibly special place in my heart, as it was in USF Juniors where I competed in my first ever single-seater race", Bianca commented. "I’m very excited to be returning to where my professional racing journey began and to be competing in the series’ final round with the esteemed Exclusive Autosport." She will drive the #95 Exclusive Autosport Tatuus JR-23 machine, which utilizes the same monocoque and main components of the cars employed in both USF2000 and Pro 2000, halo-equipped. The Canadian outfit also lines up Erick Schotten, Joey Brienza, Jack Jeffers and Giovanni Cabrera. It will be Bustamante's first visit to the 5.513 km-long Circuit of the Americas - a challenging layout featuring fast direction changes and technical sections, such as the famous Esses, as well as elevation changes. "For the upcoming race, my main focus is making use of the track time, learning the circuit, and continuing to progress", Bustamante continued. "I'm grateful for this opportunity and looking forward to racing alongside this tough grid of drivers." Bianca has completed a two-day test at Autobahn Country Club in Joliet, Illinois, to familiarize herself with the USF Juniors car and is looking forward to applying the learnings at COTA next weekend, ahead of the F1 US Grand Prix in October. "In preparation for this race, there is still a lot to do and I will work hard to maximize in all aspects", Bianca said. "The two days of testing at Autobahn went very well, so I will approach the race weekend with confidence and determination to do my best!”