Saudi Arabia’s first female Formula 3 driver, Reema Juffali, has said she is aiming for a top 10 after competing in the opening round of the 2021 British F3 BRDC Championship.
The 29-year-old Jeddah-born driver put on a solid display in the first race of the 2021 season at Brands Hatch, where she made her Formula 3 debut.
As the only female participating in the event, there is a natural interest in Juffali’s performances, and she is certainly happy to play a role in breaking down barriers in what can be a male-dominated environment.
“To be honest, it’s not something I spend a lot of time thinking about,” she says. “Of course other pilots sometimes test me to see what I’m made of – to see how far they can push me, but they would do it regardless of my gender. I’m confident, I have a strong spirit of competition and I like to take up challenges.
“There are times when I walk in the paddock and understand that I stand out, but that has never been a problem for me. If I help change attitudes, it can only be a good thing.
After learning to drive while studying in the United States, Juffali was able to devote more time to his passion in 2018, when it was legalized for women to drive in Saudi Arabia.
Aiming to make his dream come true, Juffali made his debut as a professional driver later that same year, before moving on to Formula 4 in 2019, competing in the British and UAE championships.
Earlier this year, Juffali announced that she is transitioning from Formula 4 to join Douglas Motorsport in the British Formula 3 BRDC Championship and, having entered the first round of the race, she is eager to get started.
“It was fantastic to be back in action and having fans in attendance made it all the more special – the buzz throughout the weekend was really there, as was the anticipation of all the people involved for the coming season, ”says Juffali.
“In terms of racing, it was the first weekend and it was mainly about getting back into the rhythm and getting back into racing mode. Racing the full track setup at Brands Hatch with such limited testing time, especially in the wet, was always going to be a challenge. I agree with the way it went but I always expect more from myself. But the team is really behind me, I learn a lot and I get the positive from every experience.
“I had family and friends with me throughout the weekend which was important and I am now looking forward to my parents joining me for the next races. My family and friends are such a source of moral support.
With the first round of action now complete, Juffali has time to take stock and prepare for the next meeting, which will take place at Silverstone in June.
Wisely setting short and long term goals for herself, and with the support of a passionate Saudi fan base, she is not to be underestimated.
“I take it one race at a time and the immediate goal is to finish in the top ten, which I would then like to maintain throughout the season,” she said.
“Then I’m looking to get into the top six and I really want to be on the podium at some point. It’s basically about progressing steadily, making the most of opportunities and putting in the hours on and off the track to make this season all it can be.
“It is an exciting time for Saudi Arabia in general and I am proud to be a part of this history. It’s great to know that the locals care about what I do and support me.
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