Teenage racing starlet Abbi Pulling is set to make her W Series debut next weekend when the competition arrives at Silverstone.
For the 18-year-old, her dream is about to come true on home soil. Pulling will join five other British racers on the grid as they head into the third round of the series, the British Grand Prix.
Ahead of her first ever W Series appearance, the rising star spoke to GiveMeSport Women alongside compatriot and mentor Alice Powell.
Debut at Silverstone
"I didn't think a few years ago that I'd be where I am now, but thanks to Alice she's helped me get here and being in front of sold out crowds, the British Grand Prix, racing on the undercard of Formula 1... You can't get much better than that."
Pulling currently competes in the F4 British Championship but has been working towards her W Series debut since she was named as a reserve driver on the the 2021 roster. The young Briton took part in the pre-season test event in Anglesey, starting the domino effect which led to her call up for the Silverstone event.
Pulling will join Team PUMA and will race alongside fellow youngster Marta García, who finished fourth in the overall rankings in 2019.
Her transition from F4 to W Series cars has been a huge leap, and one that didn't come without a quick learning curve for the teen.
"Everything just feels so different, even the seating position," Pulling explained. "The turbo, the power – it gets going quite quickly compared to F4. Getting used to that, on one of my first laps I spun out and it was probably one of the most embarrassing things I've ever done in my life!
"But we've all been there, every driver has done it during the first time in their car. It's not something that's easy to combat but it actually helped me."
Student and mentor relationship
Pulling has been taken under the wing of Alice Powell, who already has a W Series podium under her belt this season.
The 28-year-old finished third overall in the inaugural season back in 2019 and is currently battling it out against fellow Brits Sarah Moore and Jamie Chadwick at the top of the standings.
Powell was full of praise for Pulling after being added to the W Series roster. The versatile driver said she was "really proud" of her "talented" protégé and has admitted the teen has what it takes to make it all the way to Formula 1.
"I instantly knew she was talented for her level of experience. She hasn't had a lot of experience in single-seaters and last year she had a lot less testing compared to others, but she was still able to get great results.
"For me, it was great to work with – not just a talented driver but a female driver. That's a passion of mine, to get a female driver – especially a British one – to Formula 1 and when you look at Abbi, she's in that bracket and has huge potential to go all the way."
Pulling was equally as delighted to have her mentor show such strong belief in her.
"I'm very flattered actually, coming from Alice who is a very established racing driver," she said. "To hear her say she sees that kind of potential in me is something I'm quite proud of and I'm thankful I've got someone like Alice punching in my corner."
Pulling will join her mentor, reigning champion Jamie Chadwick, Sarah Moore, Jessica Hawkins, and Abbie Eaton as the sixth British driver on the W Series roster this season.
The teenager highlighted Moore as one of the drivers she looks up to the most in the tournament. After becoming the first LGBTQ+ driver to finish on a Grand Prix weekend podium, the 26-year-old has inspired many, including Pulling.
"The two Brits, Alice and Sarah, on the front row and then finishing P1 and P2 – it was something special."
Pulling will be joining her compatriots on the grid for the first time as they prepare for lights out at Silverstone on July 17th.
The third round of W Series action will take place at Silverstone during the Formula 1 British Grand Prix weekend. You can watch the race live and for free on Channel 4.News Now - Sport News