With a year of Formula 4 under her belt, 17-year-old Chloe Chambers is looking to build upon her motorsport experience at the W Series test week in Arizona, which started on 31 January. F1 Feeder Series spoke with Chambers ahead of the test to discuss her debut season in Formula 4, and her preparation for the year ahead.
By Aisha Sembhi
Chambers made her post-karting debut in the 2021 F4 US championship, where she finished the season in 26th after securing one top 10 finish. She describes the season as a positive learning curve for both herself and her team, Future Star Racing: “It was my first season stepping into cars out of karting, and it was the team’s first year working with me, the car, and racing in this series.”
Throughout the year, she received coaching from motorsport legend Al Unser Jr, a two-time Indianapolis 500 winner. “Al is a great racer,” Chambers says, “He always had good race strategies and I learned a lot on that end. In cars, strategy is much more important than in karts. That’s where Al really taught me a lot.”
“It was a good learning year. I’ve shown good speed throughout the season,” Chambers says, reflecting on her F4 season highlights. “I probably made the most passes out of any other driver in the championship.”
Her enthusiasm towards the progress made during her F4 debut translates into confidence towards the upcoming W Series test: “I’m feeling really good about this test. I’ve done some winter testing down in Texas in both the F4 and Formula Regional Americas (FRA) car. I’m not feeling too much pressure because I’ve had lots of experience in the F4 car, and I know what I need to do as a driver.”
As one of the youngest drivers participating in the test, a sense of pressure for the days ahead may seem inevitable. However, Chambers is feeling confident: “Most of the pressure and expectations I feel come from myself. I always strive to be the best I can be both inside and outside the car.”
Even outside of motorsport competitions, Chambers has established herself as a bold driver seeking to push the limits wherever possible. She’s a verified world record holder, holding a record for the fastest vehicle slalom with a new benchmark pace of 47.45 seconds in a 2020 Porsche 718 Spyder. “It was actually Porsche’s idea,” Chambers explains. “I was contacted by the film crew who made the video, as well as Porsche Cars North America who pitched the idea to me. Of course, I gratefully accepted. It was so awesome getting to work with such a prestigious car company.”
Dedication to diversity
Chambers participation in the F4 US Championship was possible due to her selection as a PMH Powering Diversity Scholar, allowing for the provision of the necessary funding needed to compete. “I had spoken with Tony Parella a little bit, he saw potential in me and was willing to help as much as he could to further my development,” she explains. Parella is well-known within the racing industry, as the president and CEO of well-established American automobile racing club, Sportcar Vintage Racing Association. Chambers reflected on her year as the PMH Scholar positively: “It was a really great year of learning and experiencing car racing for the first time.”
Chambers is involved in several causes seeking to promote diversity and inclusion within her sport. She’s affiliated with Shift Up Now, an organisation seeking to provide full funding for young women in motorsport. “It’s a really cool group to be a part of,” Chambers says. “I always love being able to help others get involved in something where they might initially be uncomfortable, unless they have an example to follow. Basically, giving people that sense of ‘If I can see her, I can be her’, which is so important in a sport so heavily male-dominated.”
When reflecting upon her position as a young woman in the field of motorsport, Chambers is indifferent to external pressures. Her gender, alongside the fact that she’s one of the only Asian-American faces on the grid, does not faze her: “I always like to say that the car doesn’t know or care what gender, race, or sexuality you are. Racing is one of those sports where it just comes down to skill and talent of the driver.”
With Chambers’ motorsport achievements comes a dedication to philanthropy. She’s an ambassador of Gift of Adoption, and uses her platform to promote the organisational mission of helping vulnerable children find permanent families. “Gift of Adoption is a really great cause that’s close to my family. I am adopted myself, along with my two younger siblings, so it’s a pretty natural fit. It’s really cool to be supporting a cause that isn’t commonly seen in the motorsports world, so whatever I can do to raise that awareness always feels amazing.”
The years ahead
Whilst another season of F4 US is not yet set in stone for Chambers, she continues to test in the hopes of securing a competitive seat in a 2022 championship: “Right now, whether I’ll do F4 or FRA this year is undetermined. I did one test day in the FRA car where I showed good speed, but we’re still evaluating.”
Despite this, Chambers shows no indication of leaving the driver’s seat altogether in 2022: “I’ll be doing some sports car races in a Porsche GT4 Clubsport in the World Racing League series in the US with my sponsor, Monoflo International. They’ve been a huge help in my career and I am so grateful to have their support.”
Chambers’ goals for the year ahead include both pursuing further education and developing her motorsport knowledge outside of the driver’s seat: “I’m still attending high school in New York. I’ve always gone to public school and I’ve been racing since I was 8, so I’ve learned how to manage my schoolwork and I’ve created my own system in doing so.”
“I’ve also begun my university application process, and I’ll be studying business. Not only will learning business strategies in a more formal environment help with my own racing career, but it will also allow me to pursue jobs within motorsports once I am finished as a driver.” Chambers says she has received acceptances from multiple universities, including Southern Methodist University, Indiana University, and Purdue University.
Much like many young racing stars, Chambers aspires to the top-flight of single-seater racing. “Formula 1 has always been my number one goal since before I even started racing. My dad always watched it so naturally, I would sit down and watch F1 on the weekends with him.”
When discussing motorsport idols, and athletes whose success she hopes to emulate, Chambers has one driver in mind: “I’ve always been a huge fan of Lewis Hamilton. From the first time I watched a Formula 1 race on TV, I remember liking him. At the time, it was mostly due to the cool McLaren livery! But as I matured and learned more as a racing driver, I realised his skill is just unmatched.”
For Chambers, however, her motorsport dreams transcend simply competing in Formula 1. “My ultimate goal is to complete the Triple Crown,” she says, referring to victories in three prestigious races: the Indianapolis 500, the 24 Hours of Le Mans, and the Monaco Grand Prix, something achieved only once before in history, by Graham Hill.
It’s clear that Chambers has a solid plan for the years ahead. She refuses to constrain herself to a single championship, aiming for the top position on a podium wherever she goes: “Whichever motorsports series I race in, I want to have the team and equipment to win.”
Header photo credit: Chloe Chambers