Harrogate motorsport sensation Alice Hughes is celebrating after racing to a landmark achievement in her 1275cc Mini.
The 23-year-old became the only female in the UK to win a saloon car championship in 2017 when she claimed the Mighty Minis title in the penultimate race of the final round of the season at Pembrey Circuit, Wales.
Mighty Minis Racing was launched in 1996 with the intention of creating an opportunity for individuals to take part in circuit racing at an affordable level.
After a mixed start to what was her third season competing in the championship, former Harrogate Grammar School pupil Hughes hit top gear midway through the campaign, earning a double-podium finish at Brands Hatch to spark her progress towards pole position.
Having seized overall first place in the competition, she then moved into an unassailable lead in the ninth and last round of the year.
“It didn’t sink in for a couple of weeks, but I’m delighted, not just for myself, but for everyone involved who has helped me along the way,” Hughes said of her success.
“It’s been a great year, but a lot of hard work went into it.
“At the start of the season my dad kept telling me ‘this is your year’ but I don’t know if I believed him until I achieved a double-podium finish at Brands Hatch, which is when I started to think that I could go on and actually win the championship.
“Only three per cent of the competitors in saloon car racing are female, so I guess that what I’ve done is quite an achievement.”
Hughes is determined to continue her upward trajectory and, having conquered the Mighty Minis, is now switching her attention to Britcar Endurance Racing for the 2018 season.
“I want to make the next step up and keep progressing and Britcar represents a realistic way of me doing that,” Hughes added.
“My aim since I first got behind the wheel of a car aged 14 was to race on the British Touring Car grid, and that’s still the ultimate goal.”