Girls On Track - Rising Stars 2022 candidates revealed
After careful selection of many candidates across 146 national federations, 8 junior and 6 senior candidates have been named for the final stages of the third edition of the Girls On Track - Rising Stars programme. Discover the nominated prospects.
It is one of the most awaited announcements of the year for young women in motorsport: the selections of the Girls On Track - Rising Star programme. Launched three years ago by the FIA Women In Motorsport Commission in cooperation with Ferrari Driver Academy - and a series of partners that include Iron Dames, Pirelli, OMP, Winfield, Circuit Paul Ricard, 321 performance - the project is aimed at finding the female stars of the future by analyzing the most promising karting prospects across 146 national federations. The first ever edition of the programme gained Maya Weug a contract in the prestigious FDA, as the Dutch-Belgian lady became the first ever female driver in the history of Ferrari. After a series of on and off-track assessment tests, the first four finalists were Maya Weug, Doriane Pin, Julia Ayoub and Antonella Bassani. Two of them have since joined Iron Dames - the all-female team created by visionary - and current President of the FIA WIM Commission - Deborah Mayer. In the second edition, a Junior category was introduced: now separated in two classes (under and over 14 years of age), two drivers were awarded with unparalleled opportunities to pursue their dreams in motor racing. Portuguese Maria Germano Neto (11 at the time) became the first Junior winner and joined the ranks of Tony Kart for an international karting campaign. Catalan Laura Camps Torras (17) became the second graduate of the programme to join the Ferrari Driver Academy and is currently completing a karting season alongside a F4 testing program with the aim of making her debut in race cars next year. The project firstly promoted by rallying legend and former FIA WIM President Michéle Mouton is now carrying on under the helm of Deborah Mayer and the candidates for the 2022 edition have now been announced. 14 drivers have been named - 8 juniors and 6 seniors - to advance into the next stage of the assessments: Junior - born between 31/03/2008 – 31/12/2010 Lisa Billard, France Mathilda Paatz, Germany Shriya Lohia, India Zoe Florescu Potolea, Italy Sara Matsui, Japan Tyra Sundberg, Sweden Domenika Arellano, Ecuador Gabriela Teixeira, Portugal Lisa Billard has some good international experience in the Mini category and has been the protagonist of a remarkable season in the French championship in the Junior classes in 2022. Mathilda Paatz, 13, has raced in the Academy Trophy as well as the German national championship in the OK-Junior category; she has previously raced in the ROK Cup international final in the Mini class in 2020. 14 year-old Indian Shriya Lohia has been making waves on home soil with multiple national successes, but has also raced internationally in the Rotax Asia Challenge. Zoe Florescu Potolea is probably one of the most interesting up-and-coming female karting talents: originally from Romania, the 13 year-old is currently competing with Italian license and has recently stepped up to the Junior category in the uber-competitive WSK series. Japanese prospect Sara Matsui, 11, started to collect victories in national competitions in the Mini category in 2020 and has since moved to the Junior Max class with remarkable results in the Japanese Championship. Tyra Sundberg, 12, from Sweden, is also one of the big names in WSK competitions around Europe. She is currently racing in the Mini class with Drago Racing. Representing Ecuador, Domenika Arellano has already made history in her home country, as she is one of the few female athletes to compete at international level. Trying to follow in her compatriot Germano Neto's footsteps will be Gabriela Teixeira, 11, who has highly impressed in the Mini category in Portuguese and IAME International competitions. Senior - born between 01/01/2006 – 31/03/2008 Alice Buckley, Australia Aurelia Nobels, Belgium Chloe Anna Grant, UK Chloe Chong, UK Macie Hitter, UK Agustina Sanchez, Uruguay Australian Alice Buckley was first selected last year, but had to drop out of the competition due to her country's strict travel restrictions. With a strong karting resumé, Buckley has recently started to venture in car racing, specifically in the local touring car scene. Originally born in Boston, USA, from Belgian parents and raised in Brazil, Aurelia Nobels has just started her single seater journey after four years of impressive karting results. At the start of the inaugural edition of the Brazilian F4, she has also recently made appearances in the Danish and Spanish championships. Chloe Anna Grant will be a familiar name to the followers of the newborn GB4 Championship, the British-based series employing the previous generation of Tatuus F4 cars. Grant has recently collected her best results in the series at Snetterton and is on a big progression. She is one of the three out of six candidates from the UK in the Senior category, as she is joined by karting racer Chloe Chong, 15, one of the protagonists of the British competitions in the X30 IAME classes. Macie Hitter was also part of the previous selections, but had to drop out for a positive covid test. Since then, the Briton has completed a testing program in GB4 and in a few other race cars - with the aim of returning to competitions in 2023. Last but not least, Agustina Sanchez is also looking to make a switch from the Master karting categories to race cars, flying the flag of Uruguayan women on the global platform. "These 14 girls will have a wonderful and challenging experience that could put them on the road to professional careers" - commented FIA Women In Motorsport Commission President Deborah Mayer. "They are part of the next generation of female motor sport talent that the FIA is committed to promoting and helping make their dream possible.” The two groups will be evaluated in two separate training camps at the Winfield Racing School, based in Circuit Paul Ricard in the South of France. Just four of them in each category will advance to the next stage, which includes karting and F4 scouting camps under the scrutiny of Ferrari Driver Academy in November. The winning junior will receive financial backing from Ferrari for an international karting season, while the winning senior is expected to graduate to Formula 4 with Iron Dames.