Petite blonde Kristin Vermeulen lives life in the fast lane and will prove tough competition against the guys on the speedway track in Cromwell this weekend.
The 22-year-old university graduate and super saloon driver from Tauranga is among a line-up of drivers coming from around the country to compete in the Super Saloons Stampede.
It had been three years since Vermeulen - who is ranked seven on the top-10 list of North Island super saloon drivers - raced at Central Motor Speedway and she was looking forward to coming back.
''The track's awesome to drive on and the people are amazing. I can't wait to get back.''
The sole representative of her gender in speedway's fastest and most powerful saloon class, Kristin had nothing but nice things to say about the support and camaraderie of her fellow drivers.
''I have been really privileged to race alongside some awesome drivers and like any driver, each season I have worked to improve my driving skills and be competitive with the guys.''
At 12 years old she started racing ministocks, at 14 years old combined racing ministocks with racing her dad's 780 horsepower A Altered Class Saloon, then moving to Super Saloons.
''I'd really like to see others, especially girls, make the leap from ministocks to super saloons. Believe it or not driving a super saloon is not overly different to a ministock. You use all the same skills learned in ministocks only super saloons are a lot, lot faster. Something else I really enjoy about the super saloon is working with dad on set-up adjustments that are made for various tracks and track conditions. I've a mathematical brain and love being able to calculate and make tiny but important adjustments.''
While she was planning to return to university to do a Masters in Counselling, her future in motorsport would not be taking a back step.
Her ultimate goal was to achieve super saloon 1NZ.
She would also love to go overseas to race.
''I would take any opportunity to race overseas and in other classes, too. I'd give anything a go.''
- The Southland Times