Formula Woman: Series won by Norfolk racer to be relaunched after 13-year absence
- Credit: Archant
A racing series for women whose inaugural championship was won by a Norfolk driver is being relaunched following a 13-year absence.
Founded by entrepreneur, Graeme Glew, Formula Woman was initially unveiled in 2004 with the aim of encouraging novice female drivers to get involved in motorsport.
Its inaugural season, televised by ITV, was a nationwide success having attracted around 10,000 applicants.
The pool was whittled down to just 50 candidates, who were sent on a week-long training camp to be tested on their driving ability, fitness, reaction times and general interview techniques.
The group was further reduced to a final 16 including Attleborough’s very own Natasha Firman who, after eight closely-fought races in Mazda RX-8s, emerged as Formula Woman’s first ever champion.
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Ms Firman, whose brother Ralph was a professional driver and father, Ralph Sr, built racing cars, said: “When I was young I decided I would not have anything to do with it, as the daughter in the family.
“But when Formula Woman was being launched, a very good family friend of our’s, Martin Donnelly, decided I should be doing it and entered me without even telling me!
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“It started out as fun, but then of course ended up being a little more serious.”
Despite starting out with low expectations, Ms Firman won the first two races at and was on the podium for all but one of the remaining rounds.
The fight for the championship went down to the wire at Brands Hatch, where her third-place finish was enough for victory by a margin of just six points.
Formula Woman was discontinued in 2007, but now business consortium Totally Motorsport Group has announced the series is set to make a return in 2021.
And Ms Firman, 44, has urged budding racers to seize a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.
“For me, doing Formula Woman was the most incredible experience and the chance of a lifetime,” she added.
“Don’t hold back, get stuck in and give it a go, because if you are interested in motorsport and this is the type of challenge you enjoy, it is absolutely fantastic.”
Novice female drivers can register their interest by visiting formulawoman.co.uk. Coronavirus permitting, an application process and televised assessment days at tracks across the UK will follow.