Saudi trailblazer Reema Juffali opens a new chapter in her racing career as a team owner

The groundbreaking driver’s Theeba Motorsports will debut at International GT Open in France this weekend

Theeba Motorsports team owner Reema Juffali, right, with coach and racing partner Adam Christodoulou. Photo: Theeba Motorsports
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Reema Juffali has been a trailblazer since becoming the first Saudi Arabian female racing driver.

Already the first Saudi woman to compete in an international race, she now becomes the first female from her country to head a motoracing team.

Theeba Motorsports will make their debut in the International GT Open second round at the Paul Ricard circuit in France this weekend. Juffali will be partnered by long-time friend, driver coach and GT ace Adam Christodoulou.

Juffali, 30, believes her pioneering move will further enhance the participation and representation of Saudi Arabia in all sectors of the motorsports industry.

“This is definitely exciting times for us," she said at a media briefing ahead of her team’s first track work on Friday.

“I have been racing for the last 3-4 years and during this time I found huge support both from back home and everywhere I have been competing. It has been so humbling.

“The reason to venture as a team owner is for us to progress as racing drivers in the world of motorsports.

“The objective, of course, is to encourage and help the Saudis get on their feet in the sport, not only as racing drivers but in various sectors – as an engineer, a mechanic or media personality, and so on.

“This is something that I really wanted to do but [I didn't know] how to do it. I think this team is going to serve its purpose and I hope you’ll see us competing internationally and regionally as a team, beginning this weekend.”

Reema Juffali with Adam Christodoulou. Photo: Theeba Motorsports

Theeba Motorsports is largely funded by “family and friends” at the moment, though Juffali hopes to attract sponsors from the Middle East to help the team’s growth.

The team is named after a nickname given to Juffali as a teenager, which translates as "She-Wolf".

“I really forgot about my nickname until I started racing, and from the beginning of my racing career I had it printed on my helmet. I thought it was a fitting name for my team,” she said.

Juffali hopes the team will provide a platform for Saudis to participate in motorsport through a variety of engineering, mechanical and commercial internship and apprenticeship programmes.

She said it is her dream to see the team one day compete at the Le Mans 24 Hours under a Saudi Arabian licence.

Reema Juffali. Photo: Theeba Motorsports

“I can’t give an exact time-frame to have the team at Le Mans but I guess three years would be a realistic target,” she said.

“I also can’t say if a majority of the team would be Saudis, but I would like to think a significant number can be on board, which would make my dream even better.

“As a team, we have a purpose that extends far beyond the race track and it is our ambition to improve Saudi Arabian representation and access to motorsport.

“While we want to create a place in racing for the Kingdom, we also want to create opportunities and will provide a space for Saudi people to get involved in a series of hands-on internship and apprenticeship programmes.

“This will hopefully culminate in a majority Saudi team one day racing at the Le Mans 24 Hours.”

Juffali hopes the International GT Open in 2022 will offer her new team a competitive platform to race in while also providing the chance to develop and learn.

“This is only the first step and a starting point in what will be a long journey to find Saudi Arabia’s place in the motor racing world and I’m extremely excited to see what the future holds,” she added.

Updated: May 19, 2022, 10:57 AM
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