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Sports

Bianca Bustamante hopes for Filipino audience in W Series Singapore race

Luisa Morales - Philstar.com

MANILA, Philippines — W Series driver Bianca Bustamante will be looking out for a Filipino contingent of fans on the track when the championship heads to Singapore at the end of September.

Bustamante, the first-ever Filipino to compete for the top-flight single-seater racing championship for women, relished being able to return to Southeast Asia after racing all season in Europe and the US.

"I was just so overwhelmed. Because we were talking, I knew it was in the plans to be racing in Singapore in the future, but I wouldn't think that it would be this year, to be honest," Bustamante told Philstar.com in an interview.

"I mean, I love Japan, I love Suzuka, I love the track, it is a shame that we won't be racing there but at the same time, I'd rather be in Singapore than anywhere else," she added.

Bustamante is a home-grown talent in the Philippines, where she started her career in karting before shifting to formula machinery just earlier this year.

While racing in the Philippines with W Series remains to be a dream at the moment, the 17-year-old will take being a little bit closer to her motherland.

"I mean, it's the closest to a home race that I'll ever get, unfortunately," Bustamante said.

She is currently in the Philippines getting some rest during the W Series' summer break before returning to action in Singapore.

Bustamante, who drives for the W Series Academy Team along with Japan's Juju Noda, also pointed to the fact that the track in Singapore is a street circuit -- one that she believes will give her an advantage.

"Singapore is definitely a good track for me, and it's a street circuit. I'm pretty sure no one's ever driven there before and I did pretty well in my last street circuit race in Miami," she said, having finished P9 in one race in Miami.

"So, yeah, it definitely is an equalizer like we definitely get to show how quickly we can adapt to a track. And a track like Singapore is very tight, it's very narrow, it's very hot so, I'm really excited," she continued.

She also expressed optimism that there will be a sizeable Filipino contingent since the track is close to the country.

"I know that there's gonna be a lot of Filipinos that bought tickets when it was announced. I mean, even my friends and family they were like, nah, we wanna watch you race. It's not every day there's a Filipino driving in the circuits of Singapore," she said.

As it stands, Bustamante is 14th in the 18-driver grid in the world championship standings with three races to go in her rookie year.

Bustamante is signed with the team until next season.

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