The W Series will take to the Silverstone circuit for the first time in its history on Saturday as part of the Formula 1 British Grand Prix.
An 18-strong list of drivers was initially headed to the Northamptonshire track before 18-year-old Abbi Pulling was bumped to the main roster. The rookie will make her W Series debut on home soil, joining five other British drivers on the grid this weekend.
Ahead of the third round of the series, David Coulthard predicted a surprise result from Pulling, who will be racing alongside compatriot and mentor Alice Powell.
“I think we’ve already established in the first two races who are up to speed and on form,” the 13-time Grand Prix winner said. “But in the case of Abby, she’s not done the first two races, this is a huge opportunity. This is a situation where she knows how to drive and she knows the circuit.
“She may not have done the first two races, but that doesn’t matter. You know, if you’re focused and hungry and talented, and the racing gods are on your side… This can be a huge weekend for her.”
Pulling took part in the W Series test event in Anglesey back in May and recently spoke to GiveMeSport Women about how it helped her get used to the cars and integrate herself into the team.
Coulthard, who won at Silverstone twice during his career, said the British track is “not one for the fainthearted.” But the W Series Advisory Board Chairman believes Pulling has what it takes to make her mark on her first race of the championship.
“I think she’s a fantastic talent and has got a great history, from grassroots right through to where she is now. Her future lies in her hands.
“If she’s good enough, she’s old enough. Let’s remember Max Verstappen when he jumped in the Red Bull at 17 or 18 – he won the Grand Prix in Barcelona.”
The list goes on of top talent that finds a way of delivering.
Indeed, Verstappen is now a household name within Formula 1 and is currently challenging Lewis Hamilton for this season’s title. Pulling could be set to follow a similar path, especially after Powell tipped her for a call up to the biggest stage in motorsport.
“Given the right opportunities and backing, Abbi can go all the way and achieve her goal of reaching Formula 1,” the Briton said of her protégé.
Pulling will join Powell on the starting grid on Saturday as two of six listed British drivers. Alongside them will be reigning champion Jamie Chadwick, Sarah Moore, Abbie Eaton and Jessica Hawkins.
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.