Home shopping delivery driver Ann Powell could soon be swapping her trusty van for a McLaren sports car as she pursues her dream of becoming a racing driver!
Fifty-two-year-old Ann, who's based at our West Swindon store, is taking part in the Formula Woman challenge which – if she wins – will see her competing for the McLaren team and driving a GT4 race car in the UK GT Cup championship next year.
Ann, who's always had a passion for fast cars, said: "I love driving and I love cars – always have – so when the competition popped up on my Facebook feed I thought 'Why not, let's go for it'.
"My aim is to go as far as I possibly can in the competition. Even if I don't win someone might see me and say: 'You know what: we should have her on our team."
"I love classic cars as well and go to a lot of shows. There's a lot of classic car racing that goes on and I have a lot of friends that do it, but I've just not had the backing or been brave enough to say 'I'm going to have a go!"
She recently took part in a race track day at Castle Coombe racing circuit where she got to drive some high-powered cars – and she loved it!
She said: "It was awesome! I felt a bit anxious at first but once I was in the car with my instructor Tim Nash it felt like I was home. It brought out the inner spirit in me and I've never smiled and felt so confident since my first time off-roading with my Land Rover.
"I consider myself to be a confident, careful and considerate driver in my daily driving, but when I was on track there was definitely a difference of wanting to win and be the best of the day. That passion to succeed in something I've always loved has started to come out in me."
Ann is currently completing online assessments for Formula Woman before heading to the track – possibly Silverstone – in September. There, the drivers will compete against others in various rounds culminating in the finals at the end of February 2022.
The winners will undergo full training and coaching during March and April before taking to the grid in a 3.8 litre twin turbo V8 race car.
She said: "It's not just about speed though, it's about your driving skills too and how you listen to your instructions. You might be the best driver in the world but you might not be any good on a track."
Ann, who has worked at our West Swindon store for nearly two years, loves the thrill she gets on the track, but also enjoys driving her Asda delivery van in and around Swindon.
She said: "Driving a van to driving a racing car is a complete contrast, but I love my job though, I really do. I love driving and this way I get to see a bit of the countryside too. I love meeting people, helping them out and making them smile!"
The store's e-commerce section leader Rob Lockwood says her colleagues at the store are right behind Ann as she follows her dream.
He said: "It's something that she's wanted to do for a long time. She is a really great person and it's good that she's following something that she really wants to do. It's a bit different driving racing cars to one of our vans though!
"Ann is just a happy-go-lucky, free-spirited kind of person. I don't think I've heard her say a bad word in her life. She's just an all-round nice person and the help and support she has given over this last year with Covid has been brilliant. She is such a team player and customers and colleagues love her.
"The first time you meet her it's as if you've known her for years; she's just a likeable person."