Annabella Fairclough selected as an FIA Girls on Track 2023 Rising Star

Thursday 17 August 2023

Annabella Fairclough will represent Motorsport UK in the FIA Girls on Track 2023 Rising Stars programme, an international talent detection initiative to find champions of the future.

The 12-year-old karter has been selected for the Junior category (ages 12-14) and will now join seven other drivers in her group at a training camp at Italian circuit Franciacorta on 4-5 September.

Launched in 2020, Rising Stars is open to two dedicated groups of promising female karting competitors between 12 and 16 years old as the FIA Women in Motorsport Commission seeks 16 drivers to take through the training camps, where their ability will be assessed.

Run in collaboration with ACI Scuola Federale – the Driving School of the Italian Federation – Annabella will seek to impress to win a full season in an international karting series in 2024 as well as career support and driver development opportunities.

Daughter of Mini Challenge champion driver Will Fairclough, Annabella has shone on the karting scene since making her competitive debut in 2021.

Having grown up learning to drive on a 50cc Yamaha quad bike in the forests and hills of mid-Wales, she finished third in her first ever race at Whilton Mill and by the end of the year had two titles to her name as O-Plate and WC Plate Champion.

Annabella also became the youngest ever winner of the prestigious British Women Racing Drivers Club (BWRDC) Junior Gold Star, which has an age limit of 25, at just 11 years old.

She aspires to move into Formula 4 when she turns 16, with the long-term goal of becoming a professional racing driver and competing at the highest level of the sport in single-seaters.

Current F1 Academy drivers Chloe Chong and Chloe Grant (also a Girls on Track UK Ambassador and Motorsport UK Academy member) were in the final four of the Senior element of the initiative last year, solidifying the success of the programme.

Annabelle said: “I am so excited by the opportunity to participate in the FIA Rising Stars Girls on Track Initiative. The programme is known for its exceptional training, guidance, and support, giving me access to experts who can help me improve my skills and knowledge. Being a part of this initiative will enable me to grow as a racing driver.

“It will also open doors to new opportunities, and representing the FIA Rising Stars Girls on Track Initiative on behalf of the UK will allow me to be a role model and inspire other young British girls to begin their own racing career.”

Katie Baldwin, Competitors Pathway Manager at Motorsport UK: 

“To be recognised by the FIA in such a competitive initiative is a fantastic achievement for Bella and we’re really excited to see her in action in Italy for the first stage of selection. The Motorsport UK Academy will work with Bella to provide some bespoke driver development training in order to support her preparations.  We wish Bella the best of luck and know that she will be a great ambassador of Motorsport UK.”