Steph closes in on her motor racing dream
A MOTOR sport fan from Fishponds is bidding to make her dream of becoming a racing driver come true.
Steph Bedford, aged 32, has made the final 50 in a contest to find drivers for a women's team entering this year's GT Cup Championship.
The former Downend School pupil, who has been "obsessed" with motor sport since she was a child, has already come through a field of 800 women from 27 countries to make the next stage of the Formula Woman 2022 competition, which will take place in March.
Steph said: “This is a lifelong dream. I have had the need for speed for as long as I can remember – one of my earliest memories is getting my brother to push me as fast as he could in a plastic car down a hill in my grandparents’ garden in Downend.
"It quickly moved on to watching the World Rally Championship with my dad every year before winning an indoor go karting championship in Avonmouth at the age of 13. I was the only female competitor. Unfortunately, due to the cost involved in go karting, I was unable to pursue my passion any further."
Steph and her family also tried to get her into rallying but financial constraints and a lack of sponsorship again held her back.
But her love of cars never wavered and she trained to be a mechanic at 16, working at Heritage Volkswagen and Dick Lovett in Bristol. She currently works for CitNOW, an automotive digital video company.
Steph is now looking for sponsors to support her on her way to the televised final of the competition.
She said: "With everyone behind me I genuinely believe I have what it takes to win. There are some experienced competitors, so I am working extremely hard on my fitness and racing driving abilities."
The Formula Woman team is set to compete with two drivers in McLaren GT4 race cars in this year's GT Cup Championship.
Chief executive Graeme Glew said: "The main goal is to create an opportunity for women who could only dream of becoming a racing driver to actually enter the competition and have a go. The objective is that the winners will compete against the men – watch this space!"
Anyone who would like to sponsor Steph should email firstname.lastname@example.org.
She is posting updates on her journey through the competition on her Instagram page @stephbedfordracing.
To find out more about the competition visit www.formulawoman.co.uk.