Drag queen who aims to cover a quarter of a mile in five seconds

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The Independent Online
Viveca Avestedt must be about the only "Drag Queen" aiming to cover a quarter of a mile in less than five seconds.

The Swedish driver, a three-time former Swedish body-building champion, has dominated European drag racing this year. She is now about to launch an attempt to break the 300mph barrier and the European speed record.

Her car for the quarter-mile attempt is the length of a double-decker bus with go-kart style front wheels the diameter of those on a normal Ford Fiesta. Its back wheels are lorry-like but have no tread and the spoiler at the back of the car stands higher than 6ft,

The vehicle comes complete with the ear-splitting wail generated by 5,000bhp and a huge appetite for fuel - it guzzles two litres every second. Running costs for it are pounds 10,000 per meeting and pounds 500,000 for a whole season. A second-hand car similar to the one driven by Avestedt would cost around pounds 250,000.

"The G-force when I start feels that I've run into a brick wall," Avestedt said. "The feeling of exhaustion after a race must be like having just run a marathon. I think you have to be slightly mad to get into the cockpit and put your foot down. It requires extreme concentration and razor-sharp reactions."

Avestedt, 35, began drag racing in 1986, starting in a Ford Anglia and moving into top-level drag racing in 1992. Her record attempt will take place next weekend at Santa Pod raceway in Bedfordshire.

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