If you’re a big motorsports fan, you might have heard of UAE racing driver Khalid Al Qubaisi. He’s the Emirati who stormed to podium glory in last year’s famous Le Mans 24 Hour race.
And it seems that racing runs in the family. His two teenaged daughters, Amna and Hamda, are going full throttle to follow in his tire tracks and inspire other girls to break into motorsport.
Amna is 16-years-old and been racing for two years. Ever since she got behind the wheel of a go-kart at Al Forsan International Sports Resort, she knew the sport would be more than just a hobby.
Fueled by an ambition to pursue racing professionally, she joined Abu Dhabi’s Daman Speed Academy, which is sponsored by Sanad, a Mubadala Company. The academy grooms young Emirati racers to help them get off the starting line in their motorsport careers.
“I was the first and only girl in the academy when I got started in racing, and that was quite a big challenge, said Amna. “I had to prove that even though I’m a girl, I can do it and that I am serious about racing.”
Over the past two years, Amna has blazed a trail through the local karting scene. She was the first female Emirati driver to represent the UAE internationally when she competed at the Rotax Max Challenge in Portugal. Next year could be a breakthrough for the young talent as she progresses from karting to the faster speeds of Formula 4. And just recently, she also became the first Emirati girl to win the UAE Rotax Max Challenge, which is a 13 round amateur karting championship held in the UAE and Oman.
It wasn’t long until another girl joined Daman Speed Academy - none other than Amna’s younger sister, 14-year-old Hamda.
“I was really inspired to take up karting after watching my sister accomplish so much and hearing about all her stories,” said Hamda. “After her drives, she would always come home with something interesting to say and I wanted to experience that.”
Recently Hamda won top of her class in the academy and has never finished lower than the top five in her career races.
Both sisters have their eyes on the ultimate motorsport goal: to race at the pinnacle of the sport in Formula 1.
“Our advice to young girls is to never give up. There is always a place for girls in sports. If you’re interested in a sport, go for it no matter what,” said Hamda.
Do you have a passion for the world of motor-racing? Then check out our video on Daman Speed Academy at http://www.weyana.ae/en/sports-health/story/daman-speed-academy
And don’t forget that the sport isn’t just about getting behind the wheel - there’s a whole support network of designers and engineers. Check out Mubadala’s website for great opportunities for aspiring technicians. www.mubadala.com