Saudi Arabian driver Reema Juffali will compete on one of motorsport’s most iconic tracks over the coming days, and the 29-year-old will pay tribute to her heritage by wearing a personalized helmet.
As part of the Douglas Motorsport team, Juffali is taking part in the second stage of the 2021 BRDC British Formula 3 Championship, where she will aim to build on her performance in the opening rounds which took place last month.
Juffali is relishing the prospect of competing at Silverstone for the very first time.
“It’s the home of British motorsport and an iconic track, so to be racing here, and hopefully putting on a good show, is very exciting for me,” she said.
“With the way the track is, the grip level gives me confidence in the car. Of all the tracks I’ve visited, this is the one I’m most excited about racing on and I can’t wait to get out there.”
Say hello to my new helmet. pic.twitter.com/EwqRKHeJKG
— Reema Juffali - ريما الجفالي (@reemajuffali) June 26, 2021
While Silverstone may be a long way from Juffali’s birthplace of Jeddah, the helmet she will wear will ensure she feels that little bit closer to home.
“I’m really excited about it and it’s been a long time coming. I wanted to incorporate a bit of myself, and Saudi, into the helmet. There is some green, and orange to represent the desert. I also have a symbol on the top, called Theeba, which is a she-wolf, and that’s something my friends used to call me when I was a teenager. I added my name in both English and Arabic.
“I came up with the base design and then I sent loads of photos to the designer,” she added. “In the past, I haven’t really liked a lot of the helmets that were designed for me, and they didn’t always go to plan. I had the same design for two years in Formula 4 so now I’m really happy with what we’ve come up with because it’s very representative of me, it feels authentic which is hugely important to me.”
Juffali’s Saudi heritage plays a pivotal role in her life and, as the country’s most high-profile female racing driver, she has a huge opportunity to inspire young women who might wish to follow in her footsteps.
“It’s very important and something extremely close to my heart,” said Juffali. “Growing up in Saudi, I didn’t have many role models in the public sphere who I could look up to, and now there are so many.“People can connect with other people who are like them and from a similar background, whether that’s a racing driver, an artist or something else entirely. I think it’s crucial to have somebody like that and I think I’m in a very fortunate position to be able to inspire youngsters.”Turning her attention back to the upcoming event, Juffali says she has left no stone unturned ahead of her return to action at the British F3 Championship.
For any professional athlete, preparation is key, and she is confident of reaping the rewards out on the track.
“It’s been good,” she says. “We’ve been trying to put in as much time as we can, whether that’s in a simulator or on a track, just so I stay fresh and get as much experience as I can prior to the race weekend,” Juffali said. “I’ve managed to do that and it’s given me that extra bit I need to come here with confidence. And it’s also important because I don’t want to come into the event feeling like I need to brush off the cobwebs. I feel like I’m ready to go, which is great.
“A top 10 finish would be great,” she added. “It depends on the conditions and what’s happening throughout the races, but for me, breaking into the top 10 would be a big win and that’s where I’d like to be. I’m feeling confident so let’s see what happens.”