Who Is Bianca Bustamante, the First Filipina W Series Driver
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Get to Know Bianca Bustamante, the First Filipina W Series Racing Driver

Get to Know Bianca Bustamante the 17 Year Old Filipina Race Car Driver 2

The techniques, skills, and competencies required to be a successful athlete demand years of practice to gain mastery. This is why most, if not all, of the award-winning names in sports are those who started at a young age. The story is the same for 17-year-old Bianca Bustamante, a new-gen Filipina racing driver with more than 20 trophies under her belt.

A Laguna native, a senior high school student at the University of Santo Tomas, and an emerging international racing driver all in one, Bianca is the first Filipina and Southeast Asian to compete in the W Series, a mission-driven initiative that aims to smash barriers and put female racing drivers on a global scale.

The Beat Asia chatted with Bianca to talk about motorsport, the athletes she looks up to, and her other aspirations outside of the racing track.

Hi, Bianca! Can you tell us about yourself and what you do?

I’m Bianca Bustamante! I'm 17 years old and I’m a Filipina racing driver. I started driving a go-kart at the age of three. I’ve been competing professionally in both local and international racing competitions since I was six. Now, I’m participating in the W Series. It’s been a long journey. 

Bianca Bustamante
Photo by Facebook/Bianca Bustamante

Who introduced you to the world of motorsport?

I would say that my dad was my sole inspiration. He was a former karter. He introduced me to [motorsport] and instantly, I fell in love with it. It was something that I’ve always wanted to do, and I have so much passion for it. I also had coaches early on in my career like Elson Carpio. He was my karting coach for a very long time, and he still is up to this day.

What’s something that you’ve learned from racing that you’re currently applying in your personal life?

Motorsport teaches you a lot. I've built the discipline around it and it’s one thing I’m glad I learned at a young age. In racing, it’s never rainbows and butterflies. The schedule can be super hectic and there are a lot of things to manage like training sessions, competitions, and social life. We’re always flying and traveling around the world, so having the discipline and finding balance in those things helps you in life in general.

Since being a racing driver is difficult, how do you stay disciplined and motivated?

It’s tough, especially being only 17, I had to give up a lot of things. There were a lot of sacrifices along the way just to reach this point. I knew that if I wanted to take this by heart and not just as a hobby, I needed to build the mentality for it. It’s hard being an athlete because we train two to three times a day, which is physically draining. On the other hand, there’s also the business side of sports such as the media and sponsorships.

Bianca Bustamante With Fellow Racing Drivers
Photo by Facebook/Bianca Bustamante

Having to learn all of that and balancing them with my academics is hard. But I do [motorsport] because I love it. I wouldn’t have done it if it was half meant. Knowing when to take a break helps.

Are there any athletes that you idolize or look up to?

Yes, 100%. In other sports, I look up to athletes like Alex Eala and Hidilyn Diaz. In motorsport, there’s been a lot of successful Filipino racing drivers like Marlon Stockinger and Michelle Bumgarner. They paved the way for younger generations like me to have a better path in this industry. I also hope to inspire other people to pursue motorsport and continue reaching for their dreams.

Speaking of inspiring, do you have any tips for aspiring racing drivers?

It’s one of the toughest sports to get into. It has that stereotype that if you’re not rich, then you can’t pursue motorsport. But that’s something that I stand against because I come from a middle-class family. We live in a very provincial place, and we didn’t have the budget, that’s why my dad stopped pursuing motorsport and worked three jobs for me to live his dreams. So I always try to perform as best as I can and drive every single time as if it’s my last.

Bianca Bustamante in Singapore
Photo by Facebook/Bianca Bustamante

I know it can be very daunting to get into motorsport, especially for women. But regardless of gender, ethnicity, and wealth, if you love something and you have a passion for it, nothing can ever stand in your way. 

You’re only 17 and you have a whole life ahead of you. Do you have other things that you want to achieve outside of motorsport?

My whole life has revolved around motorsport but at the same time, I still find ways to [juggle] my other interests outside of racing. Like engineering, I love it so much. That’s why I’m a bit confused about which course to take [in college] because I also draw and want to pursue architecture. I love reading. I love working out. I love sports in general. I play volleyball. I love wakeboarding. I do watersports. I try not to make motorsport my whole personality.

Thank you so much and have a nice day, Bianca!

Thank you!

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