Packed into the petite five-feet frame of Hamda Khaled Al Qubaisi is a lean mean speed machine. With her top speed at 240 kilometers per hour, the current Formula 4 (F4) lap record holder in Abu Dhabi Yas Marina Circuit said racing gives her an adrenaline rush that she “doesn't get elsewhere.”
The freshman at NYU Abu Dhabi started her F4 racing career over a year ago, and to date has achieved three podiums and two pole positions.
A Family of Motorsports Athletes
Al Qubaisi was familiar with the racing circuit scene from a young age. Her father Khaled Abdulla Al Qubaisi is a grand touring (GT) racer and her older sister Amna Al Qubaisi started racing in 2014.
The support from both her father and sister have been essential in helping Hamda learn the ropes of car racing quickly.
Ladies and Gentlemen, Start Your Engine
The timing for the first qualifying lap of the race is important as racers vie for the pole position — the ideal starting position of being in the inside front row of the grid.
To get ready for that intense first lap, Al Qubaisi skip rope to keep her heart rate up and do mental exercises with her coach. “The pressure (on myself) to win is so strong,” she commented. Warming up pre-race is critical as “you break really hard (during races) and if you don’t warm up, you may pull a muscle and hurt yourself,” Al Qubaisi explained.
“I don’t have to choose between school and race.”
After every competition, Al Qubaisi can count on a group of supportive classmates to help her catch up on school work. Not just that, some professors also try to take into consideration Al Qubaisi’s race schedules in their coursework.
The tremendous support at NYUAD has allowed the Class of 2023 student to keep up with intense college work while having a racing career.
So what’s next for the 17-year old? Winning a race in her home country here at the United Arab Emirates, Al Qubaisi said with a grin.