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A DRAG RACER.. Girl driver had sex-change.

Byline: EXCLUSIVE by STEPHEN MARTIN

BRITAIN'S first all-women grand prix championship was branded a farce last night after one of the frontrunners admitted: I used to be a man.

Lauren Blighton, 32, who calls herself "Trackday Queen" on her website, has been blasting around the country's motor racing circuits as part of the ITV1 show Formula Woman.

Last night a programme insider said: "It's caused a lot of laughter in the pit lane - some people are calling her Rubens Barri-fellow after the male Formula One driver."

Lauren, of Macclesfield, Cheshire, was born in July 1971 in Chatham, Kent, as Paul William Blighton. She grew up uncomfortable with her gender and has now had surgery to become a woman.

TV viewers will see the trainee social worker confessing her secret to fellow contestants during the series, which starts on July 11.

The contest is being billed as putting women's driving in the fast lane. Sixteen women were picked from 10,000 applicants after a series of gruelling tests.

But just two races into the much-hyped championship, which finishes at Brands Hatch in Kent on July 25, critics say Formula Woman is nothing more than the latest reality TV farce. Lauren declined to comment yesterday.

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REV-ELATION: Lauren was a man
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Publication:Sunday Mirror (London, England)
Date:Jul 4, 2004
Words:210
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