ALICE Powell is determined to make the most of an opportunity in single-seater motorsport after thinking her dream was over.

The Chipping Norton driver is among the frontrunners in the W Series – an all-female championship – ahead of today’s third round in Misano, Italy.

After spending four years in the wilderness, Powell has taken her opportunity with both hands, finishing on the podium in the first two races.

It means the 26-year-old, who found herself helping her tradesman father in west Oxfordshire while away from the sport, sits third in the standings with four rounds to go.

Since competing in the MRF Challenge Formula 2000 in 2015, Powell struggled to secure another drive with a lack of sponsorship a major issue.

The W Series is unique in that it is free to enter and the former Asian Formula Renault Series champion is grateful for the chance.

“As one year went by, and another, and another, I was thinking ‘am I ever going to get back into a car?’,” said Powell.

“We worked hard to get sponsorship, but the levels are so high.

“The W Series has come along to resolve some of that, you don’t have to bring your own funding, and I’m very thankful.”

Powell had to come through a gruelling selection process to make the 18-driver grid, with 54 candidates fighting for a chance to be in the series.

The championship has come under criticism for segregating females, but the Oxfordshire racer sees the other side of the argument.

“It’s absolutely fantastic,” she said. “It’s great to have the opportunity to get back out there.

“We use Formula 3 cars – they’re not easy to drive at all, they’re reasonably powerful, and not easy to muscle around a corner.

“It’s a great experience for myself and the other drivers.”

What happens after the series will remain to be seen.

Championship leader Jamie Chadwick has already been appointed a development driver at Grove-based Williams F1.

But Powell knows she cannot expect a similar offer to come her way.

“I’m just keeping my options open,” she said.

“I’m never going to say ‘if I’m not in Formula 1 that’s it, I’m not going to do anything’.

“Formula 1 is obviously most people’s aim, but if that doesn’t happen I would be interested in GTs or British Touring Cars.”