A NORTH-EAST race circuit has been chosen as a venue for the UK's only all-female racing championship.

Teesside Autodrome will join the likes of Brands Hatch, Oulton Park and Donington Park in hosting assessments for the Formula Woman Championship.

An estimated 10,000 women will attempt to win one of 16 places in the championship, sponsored by Privilege Insurance and Mazda.

The first assessment at Teesside Autodrome will take place over three days on June 21-23 when entrants will undergo written and practical tests to assess their fitness, reactions and driving skills.

They will then be asked to demonstrate their skills driving a Mazda RX-8 sports car around the Middlesbrough circuit under race conditions.

Kathryn Pope, of Teesside Autodrome, said: "Formula Woman is changing the face of motorsport by giving a platform for women drivers to compete and prove that they are just as competent as their male counterparts.

"It is twice as hard for women to break into top-level motorsport. It's extremely difficult to attract sponsors, there are few other incentives and there are no role models."

The eventual winner of the 2005 Formula Woman title will earn herself a seat in this year's Formula Palmer Audi Winter Series and the chance to have a test with the Mazda British Touring Car Championship (BTCC) team.

Last year's winner of the inaugural Privilege Insurance Formula Woman Championship, Natasha Firman, a 27-year-old from London, won a place in the 2004/05 Formula Palmer Audi Winter Series and has now become the first woman to drive for a manufacturer - Mazda - in the Brit Car Championship.

Formula Woman is open to all women aged 18 or over who hold a driving licence but have not competed in motorsports before.

For more information or to apply, visit www.formulawoman.com or call Teesside Autodrome on (01642) 231117.