Fairclough advances to FIA Girls on Track – Rising Stars Finale

Thursday 07 September 2023

Annabella Fairclough, the UK representative in the FIA Girls on Track – Rising Stars junior programme, has advanced to the final stage at the Ferrari Driver Academy in Maranello for the FIA-FDA Karting Scouting Camp.  

Alongside seven other competitors, the 12-year-old karter was put through her paces in practice sessions, qualifying and super pole sessions, before the final race simulation which provided thrilling action as the talented youngsters battled for supremacy. On the final day the girls focused on track action during the morning, behind the wheel of go-karts supplied by Tony Kart. 

As well as the on-track competition, the juniors took part in off-track workshops and tests focused on mental and physical activities delivered by 3,2,1 Perform. The programme also included an Online Abuse seminar and training workshop under the watchful eye of Deborah Mayer, President of the FIA Women in Motorsport Commission. 

Following these activities, programme judges Cathy Muller, former French racer and Iron Dames detection Manager, Ferrari Driver Academy (FDA), the Driving School of the Italian Federation, and 3,2,1 Perform representatives, met to deliberate and select the junior finalists. 

Joining Fairclough on the list includes Eva Dorrestijn (NED), Bianca Nagy (HUN) and Vanesa Silkunaite (LTU).  

At the end of this selection process, the winning junior driver will participate in an International Karting season with the support of the Ferrari Driver Academy.  

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 a number of wins and titles to her name.

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.  

In Italy, Annabella has been supported by her father as well as driver coach Christian, who has provided support throughout the process.   

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. 

Deborah Mayer, President of the FIA Women in Motorsport Commission, said: “It was a great pleasure to be present in Franciacorta for the junior selection of the FIA Girls on Track Rising Stars Program. I salute the great spirit and determination of each of the participants. They showed just how strong their passion for motorsport and dreams are. Congratulations and good luck for the final to Vanesa, Bianca, Annabella & Eva who came on top of the junior category.” 

About Rising Stars 

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 – the junior winner will receive a full season in an international karting series in 2024 as well as career support and driver development opportunities.