Three female racers are set to compete in the 2023 Macau Formula 4 Race: F1 Academy race winner and McLaren junior Bianca Bustamante, Formula Regional Japan champion and current Super GT driver Miki Koyama, as well as Vivian Siu, who has made history in Chinese Formula 4 by becoming the first woman to score points in the series.
Three female drivers will enter the Macau Formula 4 Race – a support race to the 70th edition of the Macau Grand Prix: Bianca Bustamante, Miki Koyama and Vivian Siu are in fact set to tackle the challenging Guia Street Circuit in Formula 4 machinery, in one of the most prestigious events of the year for single seater racing.
The Macau Grand Prix was heavily disrupted during the Covid pandemic, as two editions were contested exclusively for Formula 4 cars and as part of the Chinese series, mostly inaccessible to international competitors. The event returns to its global prominence for the 2023 edition, as the Formula 3 World Cup event is back with a star studded grid that also includes Sophia Floersch.
The Formula 4 race, though, will be back with an equally impressive field, in a mix of international and local drivers that will get behind the wheel of 25 identical 1,400cc, 160hp Tatuus F4 GEN2 single seater cars. Having been previously run on the previous generation of Mygale F4 cars, it will be the first F4 halo-equipped car to race at Macau.
Among the entries, three elite female drivers will fight for the win at the legendary venue.
Bianca Bustamante, 18, has been announced as the first F1 Academy driver confirmed for the 2024 season, where she will represent McLaren. The Filipina has in fact also been signed for the McLaren Driver Development roster - and is the first woman to enter the programme.
Bustamante made her debut in single seaters only one year ago, having raced in the all-female W Series in the Tatuus T318 Formula Regional car. At the end of the season, she collected valuable track time in the Indian Racing League and then switched to Formula 4 racing, contesting the full F4 UAE campaign.
Bustamante then joined Prema Racing for the inaugural F1 Academy championship, where she would collect 4 podiums and two victories - at Valencia and Monza - ultimately finishing seventh in the drivers' championship. In her first F4 season, Bustamante has made outstanding progression, with one off starts also in the Italian F4 and USF Juniors; she will now team up with Black Art Racing team for her first experience of the Macau circuit.
Joining Bustamante on the grid will be also former W Series racer Miki Koyama, 26.
The Japanese driver contested two seasons in the all female championship, in 2019 and 2021, scoring points in 8 out of the 14 races she entered. Her best result at Misano - a fourth place finish - was followed but another top five in Red Bull Ring at the 2021 season opener.
One year later, Koyama joined the Toyota GR young driver programme and, at her first participation, she made history by claiming the title in the Formula Regional Japanese Championship. She in fact became the first ever woman to win a FIA-sanctioned mixed-gender single seater championship.
Teaming up with SuperLicense team, Miki secured the title after seven race victories and 17 podiums out of 17 races. In 2023, Koyama stepped up to Japan's premier sports car series, Super GT: she was in fact announced as the third driver of the new Anest Iwata Racing with Arnage outfit in the GT300 class. At the wheel of the Lexus RC F GT3, Koyama has so far entered 4 races, with a personal best of 11th at the 450km race at Autopolis.
At Macau, Miki Koyama will be reunited with team Super License, in a one-car operation for the #8 entry.
Driving the #28 Tatuus will be Vivian Siu, under the banner of Champ by R&B. Siu is relatively new to motor racing, having started her career less than a year ago; the athlete from Hong Kong, though, has already made history as she became the first woman to enter the Chinese Formula 4 Championship - as well as the first woman to score points in the series.
Vivian entered the first two rounds of the 2023 Chinese F4 series for Henmax T-1 Racing and, after a 12th place as a best result at Zhuhai International Circuit in May, she claimed a breakthrough tenth place at the following round at Ningbo Internatinal Circuit. While she did not return for the following race meetings, Siu will get back behind the wheel for the biggest event of her career so far at Macau.
While the Chinese F4 runs the older generation Mygale until the end of 2023, Siu already had the chance to test the new Tatuus T421 car that will be employed at Macau, as well as in the Chinese series next year.
While the Macau Formula 4 race - scheduled for 11–12 November - was initially planned as part of the Chinese F4 Championship, it was later announced to be a non-championship round within the revived 2023 Formula 4 South East Asia Championship.