W Series, the international single-seater motor racing championship for female drivers, today announces that Abbi Pulling will make her competitive W Series debut at the third round of the 2021 season at Silverstone on 17 July.
The 18-year-old Briton will compete for the PUMA team alongside Spain's Marta Garcia, 20, when W Series races alongside Formula 1 at the British Grand Prix weekend. Abbi will line up on the same grid as her mentor and compatriot Alice Powell (Racing X), 28, who won the opening round of the W Series season in Austria and is third in the championship standings ahead of her home race at Silverstone.
Abbi is a former British karting champion who currently competes in the British Formula 4 championship. Abbi was named as a W Series reserve driver for the 2021 season after being invited to take part in the pre-season test at the Anglesey Circuit, Wales, in May.
Dave Ryan (Racing Director, W Series) said:
"I am delighted to be able to give Abbi, a young driver with lots of potential, her competitive W Series debut at her home race at Silverstone. Abbi impressed us at the pre-season test at Anglesey where she bonded with the team, worked hard and had some good sessions in the car. Her career is progressing well and I look forward to seeing how she handles the next step up at Formula 1's British Grand Prix weekend."
Abbi Pulling, 18, UK, PUMA W Series Team, said:
"I'm over the moon to be making my W Series debut at Silverstone and I want to show people what I can do. I’ve never been to the British Grand Prix weekend before and I can't even begin to imagine what the atmosphere will be like racing in front of a full home crowd. It will be a very special occasion and, whatever the result, something that will stay with me forever. My only experience of Silverstone's Grand Prix circuit was in the Ginetta GT5 Challenge in 2019 when I got my first top-10 finish in car racing after starting outside the top 20, so I'll be trying to draw on those good memories. I'll prepare as well as I can, watch lots of videos, work hard on the simulator and ask Alice [Powell] lots of questions.
"I wouldn't be where I am now without Alice. My whole perspective changed when I started working with her last year. She is constantly training or doing something to benefit her racing – the amount of work she puts in is crazy and of a very high standard. She opened my eyes and made me realise how hard I need to work to achieve my goal of reaching F1, which feels like a realistic one thanks to her. Alice has helped me technically, mentally and physically and my results have improved so much. W Series' pre-season test at Anglesey couldn't have gone much better for me and I'll head to Silverstone feeling competitive.
"It will be strange racing against Alice and I hope it goes better than the only previous time it happened when we collided during a go-kart race! We won't be easy on each other, but I know that Alice and lots of the other girls are trying to win the championship and I'm a reserve driver, so I'll be respectful of that. Alice is a great driver who has already won a race this season, so if I'm battling her it's likely to be at the front of the field and I'll take that."
Alice Powell, 28, UK, Racing X, said:
"I'm really happy for Abbi because she thoroughly deserves this opportunity. I started working with her in August 2020 on all the elements of being a racing driver. At the end of last year, she moved closer to me so we could train together every day to ramp up her fitness and we also do lots of simulator work. Her work ethic is extremely good and that has allowed her to make the step up from karting to single seaters.
"Abbi is a serious talent. She hasn't had that much experience in single seaters because budget has been an issue, so it's great that W Series has given her this chance on the biggest stage. Given the right opportunities and backing, Abbi can go all the way and achieve her goal of reaching Formula 1. We've been joking about racing together at Silverstone and, though we'll race hard if we come up against each other, we'll be fair. I know she'll be working hard to achieve a great result on debut and it will be a proud moment for me to see her racing at the British Grand Prix weekend."
James Clark (Head of Sports Marketing Motorsports & Operations, PUMA) said:
"It's great to see such a competitive youngster like Abbi given her debut in the PUMA W Series Team cockpit. She proved her performance in an impressive way at the pre-season test in Anglesey. Abbi is exactly the type of character we want to be part of our team and she has huge potential. Now it's time for her to take the next step and win points in W Series."