When Chloe Chong goes back to her upbringing, she realizes that the six-year-old version of herself never in a million years would have dared to believe that she would be where she is now.
This weekend, the young man, who will be 16 years old, will take part in the F1 Academy support race at the United States Grand Prix, which will take place in Austin, Texas.
This year saw the introduction of a new series called the F1 Academy, which serves as a stepping stone for female drivers just starting out in the world of motorsport.
Since the beginning of the competition in April in Austria, there have been a total of 15 female athletes competing across five different teams.
And when the season comes to a close, Chloe will be sharing the race weekend with her idol, Sir Lewis Hamilton, who will be driving in the final race.
Lewis has accomplished a remarkable feat by being able to motivate such a large number of individuals. “And I think that really drives me to keep pushing as hard as I can,” she says. “And I think that really drives me to continue to.”
Chloe’s relationship with the famed British driver goes beyond this one incident; she learned the basics of auto racing on the same karting track as he did when they were both young.
She told BBC Newsbeat at Buckmore Park Kart Circuit in Kent, “It’s so cool to start in the same place because he inspired me from a young age to start karting,” because he was the person who first got her interested in karting.
“I’m really grateful for everything he’s done not only to help women in F1, but also to help diverse ethnicities come into sports in general.”
Chloe describes how the memories begin “flooding back” while she’s out on the track.
“Even though I feel like I’m right at home here, I also get the sense that I’m in another world.” “When you’re racing in such massive cars, it’s easy to lose track of your roots,” she continues.
“And I think it’s always nice to come back, build on those memories and stay grateful for where you are today.”
The young lady claims that she made the decision to begin competing in races at the track when she was as young as five years old.
She recalls “always wanting to go into a car,” and she was eventually able to do so after “begging and begging” her parents to let her ride in one.
She is quick to point out that her parents were not really interested in racing. “We watched F1 and that brought about a passion for sport in me.”
Chloe did consider jumping directly into the F1 big league, but her father cautioned her about the amount of hard work that would be required along the road and suggested that she begin her racing career in karting.
“He told me that there was this track where Lewis Hamilton [started], and that all champions start in karting,” according to her.
Therefore, my answer to the question of whether or not I should begin at the same site as one of my heroes was an obvious yes. In addition to that, I believe that it stoked a greater enthusiasm within me for the sport.
In addition, Chloe and Hamilton were not the only ones who gained valuable experience at the Buckmore Park Kart Circuit.
It was also the place where other successful British drivers like Lando Norris and Jenson Button learned how to navigate turns and how to drive quickly down straights.
“It’s super inspiring to learn the same things that they did at the same track that they did,” according to Chloe.
However, shifting from karting to car racing has required a “massive adjustment” on my part.
“You can only get so much from karting, it builds the rhythm and the overtaking,” says the instructor.
“The primary distinction between karting and automobile racing is that the former features a far higher degree of specificity in comparison to the latter.
“I believe that it leads to a great deal more discussion. You need to have better communication not only with your developer but also with the rest of your team.
“And there’s more strategy and I think that was the biggest adjustment for me and probably the hardest one that took the most time.”
Chloe can’t legally drive on British roads since she’s only 16, but she’s been hitting speeds of up to 150 miles per hour in her Formula One Academy car on the circuit this year.
She describes the season as having “gone pretty well” when she thinks back on her first year as a rookie and her first time driving real racing vehicles.
“We always had that expectation, being the youngest driver on the grid, that there was no point in thinking that you could beat drivers that had six to seven years of car racing experience,” according to her.
“You’ve got to respect those little gains, because in reality when you’re racing against girls with so much more experience, that’s always going to be the challenge.”
Her primary objective for the year was to complete all of the races she entered, and when she accomplished this goal by finishing sixth in her first race and earning points, she produced “a moment that will live with me forever.”
“In general, the season’s been really great, really progressive,” according to her.
This weekend’s race in Texas is the only support race for the F1 Academy; however, beginning in 2019, the all-female junior category will host all of its rounds as support races for grand prix. The race taking place this weekend in Texas is the only support race for the F1 Academy.
In addition, each of the F1 teams is going to select a driver to compete in the F1 Academy, and Chloe would love nothing more than to be chosen by either McLaren, Mercedes, or Williams.
She believes that changes such as these in the world of motorsport represent a “massive step forward” for women, “especially in terms of budgets, I think that’s one of the biggest challenges that we face.”
But for the time being, Chloe insists that she is content to live in the here and now and that she values “spending time with the team, learning a lot of stuff.”
“I’m just taking everything in and living that opportunity because I’m so grateful for what’s happened.”