Leading Formula Renault BARC Championship team Hillspeed have announced the signing of seventeen year old Alice Powell for the forthcoming season.

Chipping Norton based Powell, who raced for 2009 Champions Manor Competition in the main category has already built up a reputation as one of the most promising lady racers in the UK, having finished sixth overall in the 2009 Formula Renault UK Championship Graduate Cup and took a pair of top ten finishes in a strong maiden season in open wheel racing.

The 2008 Ginetta Junior Championship racer has opted to join Hillspeed for 2010 as she looked to move into the cost effective series. Powell has had a pair of successful test outings with the outfit – including one during a general test session at Silverstone on the 9 April.

As part of the deal which sees Powell join Hillspeed, her car will be engineered by Sarah Shaw, the co-owner of her previous team, Manor Competition. Shaw is highly respected throughout national single-seater racing, with a superb record in Formula Renault BARC, having worked on the Championship winning cars of Hywel Lloyd and Richard Singleton. Shaw also engineered Dean Smith to 2009 Championship glory.

“Obviously, we're delighted to have Alice on board alongside James (Theodore) for the 2010 season, it's an excellent line-up and we're sure they'll work very well together. In the UK championship last year, Alice proved what a highly capable driver she is. She has a very good chance indeed of doing well in BARC this season.

“Alice had been associated with a few other teams in recent weeks but we didn't wish to comment on any testing we were doing with her until a deal had actually been done. She's only had a couple of limited runs with us but everything went well. We're equally delighted to be working with Sarah (Shaw) again – she's undoubtedly one of the very best race engineers in Formula Renault,” said a delighted team principal of Hillspeed, Richard Ollerenshaw.

Powell graduated into car racing at the end of the 2007 season, when she entered the Ginetta Junior Winter Series, before embarking on a full campaign in 2008, securing four podium finishes en route to ninth overall.

For 2009, she graduated into Formula Renault and scored points in thirteen out of twenty races.

Speaking about the deal which sees her joining the Formula Renault BARC grid; the Oxfordshire youngster said: “Hopefully it's going to be a good season. I'm delighted to have signed with Hillspeed and to have a quick team-mate like James (Theodore) is great. What makes everything even better is to have Sarah (Shaw) from Manor Competition linking-up with the team to engineer my car – it can only help boost my chances.”

Powell has already had her first races of the season, as she is in the Ginetta G50 Cup alongside the Formula Renault BARC Championship campaign. Her first Formula Renault BARC race will take place this weekend, the 17/18 April at Brands Hatch, Kent. Qualifying takes place on the Saturday, with race one due to start at 10.20am on Sunday, with race two at 16.45.