May 6, 2014- After several successful seasons in karting, one runner-up Rookie title for her road racing debut (Toyota Cup Series) and another runner-up Rookie title in the Quebec ACT series, Québec driver Valérie Chiasson will realize her Canadian Touring Car Championship (CTCC) debut at the Grand Prix du Canada, on the Gilles-Villeneuve circuit. She is presently the first female driver confirmed to contest the prestigious event on June 6, 7, and 8.
Valérie Chiasson made an agreement with the reputable Lombardi Honda Racing team to drive the car with which Benjamin Distaulo won the Grand Prix du Canada in CTCC last year. For the young driver, it’s a big challenge but that’s exactly what she’s looking forward to.
“I’m thrilled to have signed this agreement with Lombardi Honda Racing, who is undoubtedly one of the top teams in Canada. For me, starting in CTCC with Tony Lombardi and Benjamin Distaulo’s team is the best way to return to competition,” explains Valérie, who has not taken part in any official track racing in five years.
“I took a step back from motorsport competition in the past few years, but I always remained in the middle of it, mainly due to my involvement as an instructor for the driving schools at different tracks and as a trainer for car manufacturers,” indicated Valérie Chiasson.
The 25 year old driver, originally from Repentigny and currently living in Mont-St-Hilaire, is equally involved in provincial level equestrian dressage competitions, which prevents her from contesting a full motorsport season.
“The deal with Lombardi Honda Racing is planned for two events, including the Grand Prix du Canada in June and that in Trois-Rivières in August. These are the two events in the calendar with the most exposure, but also the two tracks that I am most eager to compete on. I need to learn the Gilles-Villeneuve circuit, but I’ve already competed at Trois-Rivières, back in my days with the Toyota Cup,” she adds.
Valérie hopes to make quick progress on the Gilles-Villeneuve circuit.
‘I have to be realistic, I’m less experienced that the other drivers that compete there every year. But with the Lombardi Honda Racing Civic Si, I have a great car to do well with. I don’t want to make a specific goal for final placing because there are plenty of things that could happen along the way but I’m expecting fairly charged competition amidst the pack so who knows what could happen,” she concludes.
Lombardi Honda Racing returns to the scene of success!
The Lombardi Honda Racing team will enter two Honda Civic Si’s in the Super Touring class at the Grand Prix du Canada, with Benjamin Distaulo and Valérie Chiasson. Distaulo won both CTCC races on the program last year, a first for the Montreal-based team.
“Lombardi Honda has a rich history with seven national championship titles but last year, it was the first time that one of our cars won at the Gilles-Villeneuve circuit. Benjamin Distaulo winning in his Lombardi Honda Racing Civic Si was a very big moment for the entire team,” indicated team principal Tony Lombardi.
“This year, we are looking forward to another victory with Benjamin. As for Valérie, we are confident that she will adapt quickly enough in order to achieve a good result. It’s the first time that the team consists of a female driver and we want the attention to be on her, not just because she’ll surely be the only female on the start line but also because of her racing performance,” he adds.
Signed on to contest the entire CTCC season, which includes seven doubleheader programs in Ontario and Québec, Benjamin Distaulo will be at the wheel of a brand new Honda Civic Si for his 2014 program.
Valérie Chiasson’s participation in the Grand Prix du Canada and that of Trois-Rivières is possible thanks to collaboration from DJC Air Conditioning. In preparation for these events, she will compete in the Spring Classic, in Circuit Mont-Tremblant, a non-championship event held May 24-25.
“The FIA Women in Motorsport Commission fully supports the participation of women in our sport, and it is always pleasing when we hear of competitors who have progressed from karting through to a prestigious national touring car championship. Naturally we wish Valérie great races in Canada.”
– Michèle Mouton, President, FIA Women in Motorsport Commission.
“I certainly welcome with pleasure the announcement of Valérie Chiasson’s participation in both CTCC races during our June 6, 7 and 8 event. Women’s participation in motorsport needs to be promoted and like many others, I sincerely believe that any talented driver can really express itself behind the wheel. I consider that every time a female driver reaches his goaland accesses our tracks, it is a victory for our favorite sport.”
– François Dumontier, President and CEO of the Formula 1 Grand Prix du Canada.
“We are pleased to see that Valérie will participate in the Grand Prix du Canada. For a sanctioning body like Auto Sport Québec, whose mission is to develop motorsport at all levels and across a variety of series, it is a great satisfaction to see a driver comes to this level of competition. To make the steps from karting to road racing in national series is an achievement in itself that requires perseverance, ambition, self-confidence, even more for women that are less and less at each level. Congratulations to Valérie. We hope that this example will inspire other young women in motorsports.”
– Gilles Villeneuve, President, Auto Sport Québec
For more information:
Valérie Chiasson Entreprises // (514) 217-5523
Lombardi Honda Racing // (514) 728-2222