Britain’s leading female racing driver Alice Powell has become the first female driver to win a Formula Renault title winning the 2010 Protyre Formula Renault BARC Championship; a grand accolade and one which she fully intends to use as a spring-board to becoming the first successful female in F1.

At 17 Alice is a year younger than Lewis Hamilton was when he won his first Renault Championship at 18 in a similar car.

Alice overturned a 16-point advantage held by title rival Mitchell Hale going into yesterday’s championship finale at Thruxton. Closing the gap down to just four points on overall scores after the opener, Powell triumphed over Hale again in the finale in the best possible way – with race victory.

Alice says: “In the final race I started on pole, got a good start and lead lights to flag to win the championship! It’s been a mega year, big big thanks to my engineer Sarah Shaw for all her help and effort she has given me this season as well as to my team Hillspeed and all my sponsors, Silverstone Hotels, Immun’Age and Bristol Street Motors.”

“Taking the championship with a race win is the perfect way to end the season. I’m doing the Formula Renault UK Winter Series with Manor and I’m hoping we can try and win that and then look at UK again for 2011.”

Alice won in perfect style at Thruxton on Sunday, 17th October, after taking her second race victory of the season during the final round to clinch the coveted crown by just eight points.

Alice says: “There was no pre race testing, so all the 18 cars had to go straight out into qualifying. As the cars began their qualifying runs, my car would not start. At that moment I could see 9 years of blood sweat and tears, as well as every penny invested going down the drain. The seconds and minutes seemed like hours when I heard the cars screaming by on the straight. As the session approached halfway, I could hear the cars coming into the pits to change their tyres. I now felt it was all over. However, just after halfway through the session, my engineer Sarah managed to start the car by sorting the fuel injection problem.”

Alice, who lives in Chipping Norton, says: “As the race started, I managed to build a lead but the safety car came out which bunched the field up, so I had all the drama of the start, once more. I pulled out another lead and to my horror there was another safety car. I managed to pull away again, but on the last bend, on the last lap, in my excitement I clipped a kerb and lost control for a split second, but I managed to hang on for the win.”

Photos by Jakob Ebrey Photography.