After making her car racing debut in the all-female series, British-Canadian teenager Chloe Chong steps up from F1 Academy to British F4 and joins JHR Developments for the upcoming campaign.
British-Canadian teenager Chloe Chong will step up from F1 Academy to British Formula 4, making her debut in a mixed-gender F4 series with JHR Developments.
“I’m delighted to be joining JHR Developments in British F4 this year", Chloe said. "The super close competition of this field and track time available made it a natural decision to take in this next step of my career."
The 16 year old was the only driver to graduate from karting to formulas through the F1-promoted championship in 2023, and joined Prema Racing for her rookie campaign in single seaters.
From no F4 experience, Chong conquered a top-6 at her very first race and made big improvements throughout the year, finishing with a strong four-race scoring streak between Le Castellet and COTA as she built on her speed.
She was in fact straight-away very convincing in testing and quickly got up to speed in the races as well, as she collected experience. Another sixth place followed at the second round in Valencia - then barely missed out on points at Zandvoort and Monza with eleventh places.
She scored her first fastest lap at the Italian round, showcasing her potential in race 1. A ninth place unfortunately did not award points in the shorter race 2, but Chong was back in the top-ten at Paul Ricard, ahead of her strongest weekend to date at Circuit of the Americas - in a very encouraging crescendo.
Before her F1 Academy debut, Chong had made her way up the karting ranks in the British Karting Championship and raced in the IAME Ladies Cup in France in the Junior X30 and Senior X30 classes, after a season in Rotax Max Euro Trophy. Her karting success resulted in the selection to the 2022 edition of the Girls On Track - Rising Stars programme. She went on to secure a spot among the four Senior finalists after the Paul Ricard tests.
Despite being one of the least experienced in cars and had only driven the F4 car once before the selections, she impressed the jury for her improvements and advanced to the final stage in Maranello, Italy.
Her progression throughout the inaugural F1 Academy season will be an important starting point to build on this momentum in the British F4 series, which features an exciting 10 triple-header events schedule - for a greatly increased track time.
The series is set to start on 27-28 April at Donington Park, before rounds at Brands Hatch Snetterton, Thruxton, Silverstone. Teams will head to Zandvoort in July for a race meeting outside British borders - and on a track that Chong has already raced on. Knockhill, Donington, Silverstone and Brands Hatch will then host the second part of the season, which will end at the Kent track on 5-6 October.
The wide variety of technical British tracks, 30 races per season - including full reverse grid races - and a program on the popular TOCA package will provide and attractive platform to continue her development in the sport.
“My very first experience in a race car was with JHR so I couldn’t be happier to return and work with them this season", Chong continued, recalling her first tests in formulas at JHR as she familiarized with the car. "Thank you to Steven Hunter and the team for the warm welcome, as well as my amazing family and supporters involved. I can’t wait to get started next month as I’m confident and ready to put in the work for an exciting year ahead.”
Chong is the first driver to be signed by JHR for the upcoming season and is the third female driver to enroll in the 2024 British F4; fellow F1 Academy driver Abbi Pulling will also return to the series with Rodin Motorsport, and Dutch driver Nina Pothof is set to make her F4 debut with Fortec Motorsport.
“We’ve known Chloe for a couple of years, as she has been testing with us to familiarise herself with cars, coming out of karting", JHR's Steven Hunter added. "Her desire to keep improving, put into practice what she has learned before, and make strides forward has made her a delight to work with. We’re looking forward to seeing how she gets on this season in British F4 and continuing to develop her as a talented racing driver.”