Valerie Chiasson is currently racing in the Canadian Porsche GT3 Cup and Nissan Micra Cup. She is the first woman to compete in a full season of the Porsche GT3 Cup in Canada, the first woman to stand on the podium of the Canadian Grand Prix, and the first female winner of the prestigiousLes Amis De Grand Prix award. When she is not racing, she runs her own motorsport marketing company, works as a brand ambassador, and enjoys riding her Friesian dressage horse.
Bridget Schuil: Tell us about your career thus far - what have the highlights been for you?
Valerie Chiasson: In 2015 when I did my podium at the Canadian Grand Prix why for me the best moment of my racing career. I became the first female in the history of the Canadian Grand Prix to have made a podium!
BS What is your first memory of motorsport?
VC It was the film of the life of Gilles Villeneuve the Ferrari F1 driver.
BS How do you support your racing habit?
VC Money (sponsors), Time and training. You have to sacrifice a lot to be in professional motorsport industry. I started racing when i was 12 years old but stopped racing full time in 2012 and 2013 to start my first marketing business after my studies at the Business School. I back in racing stronger in 2014 with another way of thinking and able to have sponsorship for a professional career.
BS How did you get into motivational speaking and brand ambassador work?
VC The best school for that is to work and learn how to sell. After getting experience in business and took private communication lessons to understand media. We have also to understand the potential negative associations that an ambassador can gives for a company. However, this risk is minimize when you prove that your lifestyle is professional.
BS What do you love about racing?
VC It's a team work but I'm at my own when i am in the car. This feeling with the speed is really spacial for me.
BS Who has been the most supportive of your career thus far?
BS What are the biggest challenges facing you in motorsport?
VC To not give up! It's really hard work and the off season doesn't exist in professional racing. Especially when you are a private team. We doing all the work... we are a small team with a passion of the motorsport and with a vision of the future. I'm working hard to be the best role for the young women in the sport.
BS Have you encountered sexism? If so, how do you deal with it?
VC After 14 years i feel like everybody. Especially when i have my helmet. Sometimes you come across macho guys and men that are surprised to see women racing, but if you like what you do and enjoy what you do, you don't let yourself feel attacked by the comments. In 2016-2017 empowering women will be in the front of the society and I believe that in motorsport, like in business, women will be more involved.