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  • Writer's pictureRACERS

Lithuania’s Vanesa Silkunaite wins Girls On Track - Rising Stars junior selection

The final edition of the Girls On Track- Rising Stars program saw Lithuanian up and coming karting talent Vanesa Silkunaite emerging as the Junior winner.

Vanesa Silkunaite
Photo credits: Vanesa Silkunaite

The Girls On Track - Rising Stars program came to an end after four years of global scouting for the next female superstar.

The programme, promoted by the FIA Women in Motorsport Commission and with the support of Ferrari Driver Academy, has played a major role in the emergence of a new generation of female racers and promoted drivers like Maya Weug and Aurelia Nobels to top single seater championships.

The program, started in 2020 with the victory of current FRECA point scorer Weug, has inspired young female up and coming karters and provided an opportunity to showcase talents in front of major players in the sport such as Ferrari and Iron Dames.

Since the second edition, the project expanded to a Senior and a Junior category, with the younger group of drivers (aged 12 to 14) had the chance to contest an international karting season with support from FDA. Previous winners include Maria Germano Neto and Zoe Florescu Potolea.

The programme’s fourth and final edition attracted a record 116 applications from 47 countries, and drivers had to overcome the strictest tests both on and off the track to impress the jury from FIA and FDA.

Eight finalists were invited to Franciacorta, where they took to the track in karting before four were selected for the final assessment - first at Maranello and then at Tony Kart headquarters. The shootout at Franciacorta saw four of the most exciting female karting talents from all over the world: Hungarian Bianca Nagy, Eva Dorrestijn from the Netherlands, Annabella Fairclough from the UK and Lithuania’s Vanesa Silkunaite.

After the evaluation, Silkunaite emerged as the winner of the 2023 edition among the junior age bracket, while Alba Hurup-Larsen was selected as the Senior winner after F4 testing.

“To the young, talented winners of this edition Alba & Vanesa, I extend my heartfelt congratulations and best wishes for their budding careers” – said Deborah Mayer, Iron Dames founder and FIA Women in Motorsport President. “While this chapter may be concluding, the legacy of Girls on Track - Rising Stars will live on and we will ensure that the path it has blazed becomes a permanent feature in progress towards equality and diversity in our beloved sport.”

The 12 year old Lithuanian karting star had a rapid progression up the ranks of international karting: from the national title in the Micro 60 class in 2019, she became Lithuanian champion again in 2021 in the Micro Max class, while at the same time entering some of the most prestigious competitions such as Rotax Max Challenge, WSK Super Master Series, Rotax Max Euro.

Silkunaite then stepped up to the OK-Junior category in 2023, in the highly competitive Champions of the Future series.

“Congratulations to Vanesa, whose determination in the kart meant she got the better of some fierce competition” – added Marco Matassa, head of Ferrari Driver Academy.

While her 2024 racing program is yet to be announced, this success represents a significant development for the career of the young driver, who will count on

FDA’s support in her next karting campaign with Tony Kart, monitoring her progress and advising her career development.



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