From Knockhill 2016 to Maranello 2022: Chloe Grant’s Girls on Track journey
Up-and-coming young British driver Chloe Grant got the experience of a lifetime in Maranello this year – yet that doesn’t even tell half of her story.
The 16-year-old, who currently races for Laser Tools Racing in GB4, reached the Senior category final of the 2022 edition of the FIA Girls on Track – Rising Stars programme, which was launched by the FIA Women in Motorsport Commission to find and nurture young female racing drivers. She beat hundreds of drivers to selection for the initial evaluation stage at Paul Ricard Circuit, France, and progressed to the last four at the Ferrari Driver Academy in Maranello, Italy.
But Grant has actually been involved with Girls on Track in various forms for several years. After starting out in karting aged 7, Grant’s first encounter with the early iteration of Girls on Track UK came in 2016, when Dare 2 Be Different was launched by Susie Wolff.
Grant attended various events over the years, where she gained an insight into the different roles available in the sport, met inspirational women – such as Wolff, presenter Louise Goodman, and Mercedes-AMG PETRONAS Formula One Team’s Kathryn Richards – and made plenty of contacts within the industry, forming long-lasting friendships in the process.
By the time the UK-based initiative became FIA Girls on Track UK in 2020, Grant was looking to further her career by moving into car racing, ahead of her progression to single seaters in 2022.
In her own words, Grant details her journey from her first D2BD event at Knockhill Racing Circuit in her native Scotland in 2016, to her experience on the FIA-organised programme in Maranello in 2022, and how our community for women and girls in motorsport has helped her along the way:
“I was invited along to be a Racing Role Model at my first ever Dare to be Different event at Knockhill in 2016, where I met Susie Wolff, Louise Goodman and D2BD’s Jenny Tcherniak (now FIA Girls on Track UK Programme Manager) for the first time.
“It turned out I was younger than the girls from the schools participating, and as there was one vacant place, I was able to join in with them and take part in all the activities.
“One of the participating schools had travelled all the way from Susie’s hometown in Oban, and I am sure this felt very special for her, and her parents too as they were also there.
“It was great to try all the activities and it gave me an insight into what future D2BD events would look like.
“My first D2BD community event was in 2017 at Gaydon. It was a new experience for me to meet with groups of girls and women who raced or wanted to race. These women were from all different backgrounds and professions, including medicine, media, engineering, management, and fitness performance. We were also given a talk by Annastiina Hintsa of Hinsta Performance which was really interesting.
“I came to other D2BD events in Scotland; Raceland in 2017, and Glasgow in 2018, where they brought along a Ferrari F1 car! I got a closer look at a few F1 cars when attending these events, including ones from Williams Racing and Force India, which was always special.
“The opportunity to make important connections through the community was something I found really beneficial. In July 19, I was invited to the D2BD event at Silverstone Porsche Experience, where I helped out on the Pit Stop Challenge. There I met Kathryn Richards, Wind Tunnel Test Technician at Mercedes F1, who ended up taking me for a tour of the factory – where we bumped into Lewis Hamilton!
“Lewis chatted with Kathryn for a bit, then chatted with me about my kart racing, recalling how much he had loved his karting days and the tracks we had both raced our karts on. I then wished him well for the forthcoming GP. He was very cool to chat to and I so appreciated him making the time for me.
“The community event at Porsche in the evening gave me the chance to network with some real female role models in the sport; Tatiana Calderon, Jamie Chadwick, Rosanna Tennant and Justina Williams.
“Meeting all these inspiring girls and women along the way, and the friendships which have developed, is a massive part of what the community has meant to me.
“The final D2BD event I attended was the community event at Williams Racing in 2019, where I helped Jenny set up beforehand. D2BD opened so many doors for me, quite literally! We visited several impressive venues, such as the Williams Museum – seeing all the cars there was very special.
“In December 2020, as I continued my own journey in motorsport, I received one-to-one media training with Louise Goodman of Goodman Media. It was really nice to look back at photos taken as the first D2BD event from four years earlier, when Louise had given me and the other girls tips on what to consider when talking in front of a camera and interviewing.
“When I made the transition from karts to cars in 2021, Jenny and her family came to watch me race in Silverstone that year, an example of one of many friendships I’ve made through this community.
“This year, I applied to Motorsport UK for the FIA Girls on Track – Rising Stars programme, and was put forward by them and subsequently selected to participate by the FIA, which was an honour.
“Being part of the Rising Stars Programme has been an incredible experience. I first spent a week in August at Paul Ricard Circuit, working with the Winfield Race School, 321 Perform and all the other partners involved.
“I then progressed from Paul Ricard to the scouting camp in Maranello in November as one of the final four – an experience few people get, and an opportunity that would not have been possible without Girls on Track.
“To spend four days in Maranello, to drive at Fiorano Circuit, and to work with the Ferrari Driver Academy for that period has given me an experience and memories that will stay with me forever.
“My journey with Dare to be Different and Girls on Track, from Knockhill in 2016 to Maranello in 2022, has been incredible. The girls and women I have met, the inspirational talks and advice I’ve been given, the friends I’ve made, and the experiences and opportunities I’ve had, were all made possible by these programmes to promote females in motorsport.”