Breaking Barriers – Amna Al Qubaisi

Racing must be in Amna Al Qubaisi’s blood. Her father was the first United Arab Emirates racer to compete in Le Mans and to win the 24 Hours of Dubai. Her younger sister has also started into racing by entering karting.
 
“It will be hard, but every champion was a beginner so keep your head down and go for it. Don’t listen to those who say you’re not good enough or fast enough. Use it as motivation to prove them wrong but mainly… drive like a girl.”
 
Amna started racing at age fourteen in Karting. In many interviews, Amna speaks about karting using terms of endearment. In the 2016-2017 season, she karted in Italy, the Arab Emirates, and Germany. That season, she broke a barrier becoming the first woman from the UAE to win the senior Rotax Max Challenge karting.
 
In the 2018 season, she moved from Karting into Formula 4 and joined with the Prema Powerteam. That also came with another broken barrier, as she holds the title of being the first UAE female to compete in Italian Formula 4. This past weekend, Amna joined other women in a testing session with Formula E. Amna joined with Envision Virgin Racing for the session in the Kaspersky Lab car, after the season opener. Unfortunately, finding some issues on the damp track, Amna lost the rear end of the car and ended her session early. Aldo Fucelli Pessot del Bo, Head of Global Partnerships and Sponsorships at Kaspersky Lab said: “This could be a seminal moment for female motorsport. For too long, in order to be a successful racing driver, you have had to be skilled, determined, competitive, brave and physically fit, but more importantly, you have had to be a man. Gender does not determine speed and Kaspersky Lab firmly believes that female and male racing drivers should compete against one another on equal terms and be given the same opportunities.
“We are proud to sponsor Amna Al Qubaisi, who at 18 is showing all the hallmarks of becoming a racing great and wasthe youngest female racer on the track in Saudi Arabia. We have to thank Sylvain Filippi and the whole Envision Virgin Racing team who did not hesitate to give her this opportunity.”
(Photo Credit: Guido De Bortoli / Getty Images for Kaspersky Lab)
“I’ve been pushed out of the race a couple of times because I’m a girl and most male drivers don’t like being overtaken by a girl so they completely shut down and punt you off. But I grew through that. If you’re aggressive, fast, and tough, you do gain the respect you deserve on track.”
 
Finally, Amna will be waiting, along with fifty-five other women, to see if she’s picked for the inaugural season for the W-Series. Part of why I decided to write a brief entry on Amna, as her career is very young, is because though I have many opinions on the W-Series (and if you’re interested you can read about it here) when the names were released someone responded with “I don’t know any of these names”. That’s why we strive to highlight women on our podcast, women racecar drivers and others doing things around racing. I have a suspicion Amna will be one to watch, she’s already making a name for herself and I love her spirit.
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Main Photo by Spencer Imbrock on Unsplash