FIA Top Fuel Dragster champion from Finland coming to NHRA Mission Foods Drag Racing Series

European Top Fuel champ Ida Zetterström to make NHRA debut with JCM Racing

Hot on the heels of Tony Stewart’s announcement that he’ll compete in the Top Fuel Dragster category in the NHRA Mission Foods Drag Racing Series in 2024, another surpise announcement was made today.

Newly crowned FIA Top Fuel champion Ida Zetterström has announced her plans to make her NHRA Top Fuel debut with JCM Racing during the 2024 NHRA Mission Foods Drag Racing Series season. Staff

“This is truly a dream come true,” said Zetterström, the FIA Top Fuel record holder for elapsed time and speed. “I’ve been working towards this goal for years now, and to have Joe Maynard and the JCM Racing organization recognize my efforts and potential means so much. I’m so thankful for everyone who has helped me reach this point, including all the NHRA drivers who have offered tips and guidance.

“The plan for now is to run at least five events next year starting in the second half of the season, but we are actively pursuing partners in hopes of running as many races as possible, as soon as possible. I’m ready to hit the ground running!” added Zetterström, who in addition to competing for NHRA Wallys will also be battling for the title of NHRA’s 2024 Rookie of the Year.

Zetterström started racing in the Jr. Dragster ranks at age 8 before moving up to Super Comp at 16. She then switched to two wheels, where she won a pair of Super Street Bike championships. She became the first woman to win a championship in the class, as well as the first to run in the six-second zone. In 2021, Zetterström earned her FIA Top Fuel license on the strength of the quickest-ever licensing run in European drag racing history. The following year, she became the first European Top Fuel driver to dip into the 3.70-second range in 1,000-foot competition. She also earned her first FIA event win and finished third in the FIA championship standings. 

The 2023 FIA season had Zetterström and the RF Motorsport team pick up four event wins, three No. 1 qualifier awards, and both ends of the European Top Fuel record. She lost just one round of eliminations all season to secure the FIA European championship. 

Zetterström has also made an impression off the track, as she’s been featured in numerous international publications and podcasts. She has a substantial following on social media, with more than 200,000 followers keeping up with her on Instagram. She also appeared on Drag Illustrated’s 30 Under 30 list in 2022. 

“This is a unique opportunity to bring a talented rising star into the world of NHRA Drag Racing,” said JCM Racing team owner, Joe Maynard. “We’ve followed Ida’s success on and off the track for some time now. She obviously has the skills it takes to excel in Top Fuel. Plus, she understands the importance of social media and how to utilize it to benefit partners. She’s the full package. I believe Ida has a bright future in NHRA Drag Racing, and we’re thrilled that she’s making her U.S. debut as a member of our JCM Racing organization.” 

Zetterström, who currently lives in the Åland Islands of Finland, is planning to relocate to the Indianapolis area to be close to the JCM Racing shop. The Brownsburg, Ind.-based JCM Racing team is currently in the process of building a car that Zetterström will begin driving during preseason testing in March 2024. The new team’s crew chief and sponsors will be announced at a later date. 

“Ida has been so successful in Europe, and now she’s going to compete with the best of the best among the NHRA ranks,” Maynard said. “She’s obviously committed to the opportunity by moving here. Similarly, we’re committed to providing her with the resources she needs to contend for NHRA Rookie of the Year honors in 2024 and, if all goes as planned, to compete for an NHRA Top Fuel championship to go along with her European title starting in 2025.”

Zetterström will begin testing with JCM Racing during the NHRA Gatornationals pre-race test session at Gainesville Raceway in Gainesville in March. 

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