Saudi Arabia’s first female Formula 3 driver Reema Juffali says she has her sights on a top 10 result after participating in the opening round of the BRDC British F3 Championship in 2021.
The Jeddah-born driver, 29, put in a solid performance in the first race of the 2021 season at Brands Hatch, where she made her Formula 3 debut.
As the only woman attending the event, there is a natural interest in Juffali’s performances and she is certainly happy to help break down barriers in a male-dominated environment.
“I don’t think about it much to be honest,” she says. “Of course, other drivers sometimes test me to see what I’m made of – to see how far they can push me, but they would do it regardless of my gender. I am confident, have a strong competitive spirit and am up to a challenge.
“There are times when I walk through the paddock and I understand that I’m being noticed, but it has never been a problem for me. If I help change attitudes, it can only be a good thing. “
After learning to drive while studying in the United States, Juffali was able to devote more time to her passion in 2018 when it became legal for women to drive in Saudi Arabia.
After making her dream come true, Juffali made her debut as a professional racing driver later that year before moving to Formula 4 in 2019, competing in both the British and UAE championships.
Earlier this year, Juffali announced that she would make the transition from Formula 4 to Douglas Motorsport in the BRDC British Formula 3 Championship.
“It was fantastic to be back in action and to have the fans present, which made it even more special – the excitement over the entire weekend was really there, as was everyone’s anticipation for the coming season,” explains Juffali.
“In terms of racing, this was the first weekend and it was really about getting back into the groove and back into racing mode. The race on the enforcement configuration at Brands Hatch with such a limited test time, especially in the wet, was always a challenge. I’m fine, but I always expect more from myself. But the team is really behind me, I learn a lot and take the positive from every experience.
“I had family and friends with me all weekend, which was important, and I’m now looking forward to my parents coming to see me for future races. My family and friends are such a source of moral support. “
After completing the first round of action, Juffali will have time to take stock and prepare for the next meeting, which will take place in Silverstone in June.
She sets herself sensible short and long term goals and is not to be underestimated with the support of a passionate Saudi fan base.
“I drive one race at a time and the immediate goal is a top ten result that I want to keep for the entire season,” she says.
“Then I look at the top six and I really want to be on the podium at some point. It’s very much about making steady progress, seizing the opportunities and spending the hours on and off the track to make this season as good as possible.
“It is an exciting time for Saudi Arabia in general and I am proud to be part of this story. It’s great to know that the people in the country are interested in what I do and support me. “
Learn more about the Sport360 application