How Bianca Bustamante Uses Social Media To Fuel Her Racing Career

Bianca Bustamante is rising the racing ranks, and a huge part of her journey is the social media community she’s built in the past couple of years.

Although she burst onto the formula racing scene just last year, in 2022, Bianca Bustamante is already pushing her boundaries as a racer. This year has been her biggest yet — she joined the F1 Academy with PREMA Racing, notched her first two race victories in her rookie season driving a Formula 4 car, and became the first female to sign for McLaren’s Driver Development Program. Her growth as a driver has been remarkable, to say the least.

Bianca’s efforts as an athlete cannot be denied. Physically, mentally, and technically, she has been working herself tirelessly to prove her place among the world’s best female drivers, and the results show. But apart from the hours she spends on the track, in the gym, or with the simulator, one thing that has also been an undeniable factor in her career development is her online platform.

Bianca Bustamante is not just a race car driver. To her many, many followers (she has over two million on Instagram and TikTok), she is also a fashion icon, a jet setter, a role model, and many more — and this has been recognized. Earlier this year, she was named the TikTok Philippines Sports Creator of the Year. On top of this, she has also been recognized as the third-most influential female racing driver based on her social media following and online search demand.

When Bianca was asked if she had expected these titles, she smiled and said, “Not at all… Whenever I do post, whenever I say something, it’s never to get anything in return from it, especially on social media.”

But, at the same time, the young Filipina racer acknowledges the role that her social media pages have played in the development of her career.

Bianca, the athlete
Filipino racer Bianca Bustamante karting in the Philippines
(Photo credit: Bianca Bustamante on Instagram)

Ever since Bianca Bustamante started posting photos on her social media platforms, which can be traced back to 2019, she has, of course, been sharing posts on her journey as an athlete. From her early karting days to her big break in the formula racing scene, she’s used her online platform as a ‘time capsule’, if you will, of her progress as a racer.

On her Instagram and TikTok, in particular, the bulk of the posts the 18-year-old shares are highlights from her racing career, and these posts have helped her as a professional athlete.

“A lot of incredible things have happened to me because of how I’ve used my platform,” Bianca says. “It’s allowed me to meet new people, meet new sponsors, and not just that, but to meet friends along the way, meet people who are now really a part of my journey.”

Filipino racer Bianca Bustamante
(Photo credit: Bianca Bustamante on Instagram)

Given Bianca’s rise in popularity on the internet, she has become an online sensation. And this is something that catches not only the eyes of fans but also brands or teams.

Speaking about how the opportunity to become a part of the McLaren Driver Development Program came around, Bianca shares, “I matched so well — the structure that McLaren has built, prioritizing my driving, but they also encourage me. They loved how I would go through with my socials, my brand, and my community.”

With this, Bianca recognizes how her platform will play a role in her journey now as a McLaren driver, and how the team values her online presence.

Bianca, the all-around influencer
(Photo credit: Bianca Bustamante on Instagram)

As with many professional athletes nowadays, Bianca is seen for more than just her athletic abilities. Her fans and followers also love to keep up with her life off the track, from her fashion statements to her travels.

Through the growth of her platform and online influence, Bianca Bustamante has gained so much traction that she has been featured in major fashion magazines, such as Vogue Philippines and Lifestyle Asia, where she can grow her fanbase further, attracting new fans not only to her as an athlete, but to the racing world as a whole.

Motorsports are still considerably niche. Racing is hardly the most popular sport in the Philippines, and even globally, the community is relatively small, especially in comparison to other sports such as football. But, racers like Bianca, who cater to so many different people from all over the world with different interests — be it fashion, food, or sports — can capture a newfound interest in this sport.

“On TikTok, we have a 40% male following and 60% female following. The fact that we’re turning this whole man’s world into something diverse and inclusive is incredible,” Bianca proudly shares.

Bianca, the human being
Bianca Bustamante for PREMA Racing in F1 Academy

While Bianca Bustamante’s online platform has undoubtedly helped to bolster her career and help build more interest in the world of motorsports, she is still just an 18-year-old girl who uses her social media like any other teen — for fun. And this may be the most valuable part of it all.

“I use my social media to show different sides of me,” she shares. “TikTok is probably my favorite version of myself because I can be as funny, as creative, as artistic, as emotional as I want to be, and I get to have a hundred percent creativity.”

One of the most popular posts that Bianca has shared was the video of her unboxing and wearing her McLaren shirt for the first time as an official member of the racing team. Her smile and her emotions were so raw and real that it surely resonated with many of the millions of people who have watched the video.

On her TikTok, she also posts videos of her dancing, her reactions to fan comments, behind-the-scenes footage of her at races or photoshoots, and many other forms of content that still make her a relatable character, despite her success as a young athlete. And this human side of herself that she is unafraid to share with the world may be the exact reason why she has created a global community and has cultivated her brand of ‘Bianca’.

“I didn’t have anything growing up. I had my parents who sacrificed everything just so I could race, I wasn’t wealthy, I didn’t have money, so I had nothing to use for me to excel in this sport, and recently, in the past 2 years, I’ve learned to use social media as a tool not just to share my journey but to actually continue my journey, to allow me to race, to allow me to drive, to allow me to get track time, and use that to my advantage,” she openly shares.

“I’m only eighteen, so the sky is the limit for me right now, but my advice to give is to use every tool to your advantage.”

Banner image from Bianca Bustamante on Instagram.

5 Unforgettable Moments From Bianca Bustamante’s First F1 Academy Season

Bianca Bustamante: The First Female Driver In McLaren’s Development Program

Iñigo Anton: In the Driver’s Seat