8:00am Saturday 3rd May 2014
Oxfordshire's Alice Powell is to drive in the opening round of the British F3 season tomorrow – just hours after having a trial for the Team GB Skeleton bobsleigh team.
The 21-year-old, from Sarsden, near Chipping Norton, has clinched a late deal to join the Carlin team, and will line up in the second F308-VW challenger at Rockingham, Corby.
However, she will be forced to race from the back of the seven-car field as she will miss qualifying due to a Team GB skeleton trial earlier in the day at Loughborough University.
Powell was inspired to have a crack at the skeleton by Lizzy Yarnold winning gold for Great Britain in Sochi, Russia, this year.
“I watched the Winter Olympics and thought how much I would love to have a go at the skeleton,” she said.
“My sport is very expensive these days and getting sponsorship is quite hard. I thought of looking at something else, and that’s skeleton.
“I have got through to the first testing that takes place on Sunday.
“I have to miss qualifying, but I am looking forward to both.”
It’s the first phase of the six-month selection process, during which time 750 athletes will be whittled down to six.
Tomorrow’s trial involves jumps, sprints, cycling and memory tests.
“It will be a hectic weekend, but I’m really really excited,” said Powell.
“I’ve always wanted to race in British Formula 3 ever since I did Formula Renault, so to get the opportunity to do it now and with the reigning champions is really good.
“I’ve got a trial for the Team GB Skeleton team on Sunday, so I’ll miss qualifying, but be back for the first race. I’ll be starting at the back of the grid, but aiming to get to the front as quickly as I can.
“A couple of years ago I tested an F308 at a very wet Silverstone, so I have only very limited experience of this car.
“Last year I did the F3 Cup which was in a F306 Toyota, so this is going to be quite a big difference.
“It’s been a while since I’ve competed at Rockingham, so I’m aiming to get up to speed as quickly as possible during practice.”
Powell had been at the British F3 media day at Donington last month in an F307-Toyota car, but now she will drive for Carlin with Banbury’s Sam Brabham, who tested the F308-VW at the Leicestershire circuit racing in Formula Ford at Thruxton this weekend.
She joins Li Zhi Cong – one of three Chinese drivers in the opening round – at Carlin.
Powell won the Formula Renault BARC title in 2010 and went on to score points in GP3 in 2012.
Tomorrow isn’t the end of Powell’s hectic schedule as on Monday night she flies out to Malaysia to take part in the Formula Renault Asia series.
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