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Page last updated at 16:02 GMT, Monday, 6 April 2009 17:02 UK
16-year-old up for racing crown

An Oxfordshire girl has broken into the record books as the youngest driver ever to take part in the prestigious Formula Renault Championship, which once boasted Lewis Hamilton and Kimi Raikkonen as champions.

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Alice Powell says she wants to be another F1 success story

It might be a few rungs down from Formula One, but the Formula Renault Championship boasts both Lewis Hamilton and Kimi Raikkonen as former champions.

This year, the pair's old team, Manor Motorsport, has signed a new driver, 16-year-old Alice Powell from Oxfordshire.

She's also the youngest ever to take part in the championship, which began on Sunday at Brands Hatch.

Formula Renault is a training ground for Formula One.

The cars do nought to fifty in three seconds with a top speed of 150 miles an hour.

My aim is to be the first successful female Formula One driver
Alice Powell

At 16, Alice still hasn't got her provisional licence, but she's the youngest driver ever at this level and the only girl in the championship this season.

It wasn't something that was daunting her before the race, however.

"I'm going to be the youngest in the championship," she told Newsbeat, "and the only female, so I've got quite a few battles up against me. But I'll get there."

'A brilliant start'

She had qualified 16th on the grid, admitting she was hoping for a better start.

However, the schoolgirl managed to finish 13th and 15th in her two races.

"It's absolutely fantastic," she explained. "I think I got a brilliant start.

"I think I gained two off the line. Kept my cool and followed everybody. That's a learning curve!"

Alice admitted she wasn't surprised she managed to beat half the field of boys, all older than herself.

"I'm used to it, beating the lads," she said. "My aim is to be the first successful female Formula One driver.

"So hopefully in years to come I'll be sitting on the front of the grid next to Lewis."



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