A local car racer has hit the big time. 

Fort Saskatchewan native, Alana Carter, will be spending some time in Europe next year after winning a Formula Women competition. 

Just 23 years old, Carter got her start in racing in the community, having cut her teeth in dirt racing before eventually transitioning into circuit racing just last year. 

"I got into it all because of my dad," said Carter. "I realized that I wanted to go further with this sport but there is a lot less funding in the oval track and dirt track world." 

"There's a racetrack near the Edmonton airport where I did most of my racing."

The move to circuit racing brought Carter to a job at a car club in Toronto and joined a racing team in the area. It was here that she first got wind of the Formula Women event. 

"I did a race just outside of Ottawa last year and the team I was racing for had a girl named Erika Hoffmann who actually won Formula Women last year," said Carter. "Her coach encouraged me to apply for the competition because he thought I had a really good shot." 

"I applied early in the summer and was working out every day, getting as many track days as possible...I spent about three hours a day in the racing simulator." 

The name Formula Women might inspire images of open-wheel cars zipping around tracks at 350 km/h but Carter says that this event didn't deal with those types of vehicles. 

"It's named Formula Women because of the goal to get a woman into formula one sometime." 

Instead, Carter climbed into a GT4 sportscar and headed to the UK to take part in the event. Though 10 North American drivers participated in the top 50 round of competition, Carter was the only one to crack the top 10. 

"To get to the final 50 and then to the final 10 we were evaluated and scored on certain areas such as fitness, driving, there was a curbing portion," said Carter. "In the final 10, it was a straight shootout, fastest time wins and that was when I was in my comfort zone. 

The event had a flair for the dramatics, as they lined up the final 10 and counted them down in order. Carter says it was a very nerve-wracking process. 

"They listed us from 10th to first, so everyone is standing there with their fingers crossed saying 'please don't say my name, please don't say my name'," said Carter. "Once they announced who was second, I knew I was first."

"I teared up a little bit but then it was shock, and it was just a crazy sensation having something that you wanted so badly and felt like such a far-fetched dream actually become reality in that moment." 

They kept each racer separate from each other during the evaluation process so, despite Carter being confident in her performance, she had no idea she would win the entire thing. 

The win guarantees Carter a spot on the Formula Women team for next season, where she will race in the British GT Cup Series. 

Though, with her being a rookie at the level, she expects to only compete in a few races in the 2023 circuit. 

"From the cars I've been racing recently they are about 180 horsepower, and these cars will be more like 450 horsepower, so that's a pretty big jump," said Carter. "The plan for me is that I will do two races at the end of the season in the GT4 cup and, leading up to that, I'm going to do as many races as I can here and across the US." 

From a humble beginning in Fort Saskatchewan to the world stage in the UK, Carter is still coming to grips with her rapid ascension in the racing world. 

"It feels surreal," said Carter. "I've been so fortunate to have so much support from my hometown racing community, my new Toronto racing community and everybody is so excited for me and I'm so happy to be part of the process."