Gosberton motorsports prodigy picks up speed ahead of 2020 F4 British Championship season
Gosberton racing driver Abbi Pulling (16) is changing gears and raising the stakes as her motorsports career continues to blossom.
The ex-Bourne Academy students is in testing ahead of her debut season in the Ford Eco-Boost powered F4 British Championship, regarded as the UK's premier single-seater motor racing series.
Pulling, the first person ever to win the Super One Junior TKM British Karting Championships back-to-back (in 2017 and 2018), raced in the Ginetta GT5 Challenge series this season where she showed some of the promise that has marked her down as a future British Touring Car Championship (BTCC) driver.
Competing in the final round of the Ginetta series at Donington Park, Pulling came sixth in her last two races where she drove a 160bhp British-made car.
Andy Pulling, Abbi's dad, said: "She is taking another big step in her career by pursuing a season in the Ford Eco-Boost backed British F4 Championship, a featured part of the BTCC programme.
"By competing in F4, Abbi is once again following in the footsteps of the 2009 F1 world champion Jenson Button who won the equivalent of the Super One Junior TKM series back in 1998.
"After a successful maiden car racing season in the Ginetta GT5 Challenge, Abbi has already kicked off her 2020 campaign with two impressive F4 test days at Donington Park and Silverstone.
"She has adapted to the single seater race car in no time at all, setting impressive lap times during the wet weather running sessions.
"Abbi is also on an extensive simulator programme where she is sharpening her driving skills ready for a test day in Spain where she hopes to get in her first dry laps of testing."
Alongside her racing, Pulling's personal profile has also been raised this season at the same time as the new W (Women's Motorsport) Series is becoming a potential route into top level motorsport.
Pulling's ambitions to success in single seater racing were boosted further at Brands Hatch during the summer when she met two pioneers of motorsport, Divina Galica and Desiré Wilson, two of just five women ever to race in F1.
Andy said: "Abbi is backing up her racing plans with a place on the Motorsport UK Academy AASE (Advanced Level Apprenticeship in Sporting Excellence) programme for Year 12 students at Loughborough College.
"She was one of only 24 students chosen for the two-year course which gives them training in all of the aspects required to be a professional racing driver."
Pulling has pride of place alongside Button at the Silverstone F1 circuit where both drivers have been included in a series of portraits called The Great British Racing Drivers Exhibition.
Featuring current and former stars of the sport, others to be featured include Sir Stirling Moss, Sir Jackie Stewart, Nigel Mansell, two-time BTCC Jason Plato and inaugural W Series champion Jaime Chadwick.
Lorraine Gathercole, chair of the British Women Racing Drivers Club (BWRDC), said: "I have followed Abbi’s progress closely this year and she has upped her game to a new level, proving herself to be among the best in the country.
"With her sights now firmly set on the F4 British Championship in 2020, the BWRDC would encourage anyone with an interest in motorsport to not only sit up and take notice but to support this 16-year-old girl who is obviously going places."