Chiasson Combines Racing, Marketing Into Powerful Platform With Porsche
Wednesday, June 8, 2016

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (June 8, 2016) – Valerie Chiasson’s life has been a trans-Atlantic blur lately, and she wouldn’t have it any other way.

Chiasson, from Mont-Tremblant, Quebec, is balancing her bustling career as a race driver, as the founder and CEO of VCE Auto Marketing and as the Canadian representative of the Women in Motorsport commission formed by worldwide motor racing governing body FIA.

She will continue her rookie season in the Ultra 94 Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge Canada at Rounds 3 and 4 of the International Motor Sports Association (IMSA)-sanctioned Single-Make Series on June 10-12 at Circuit Gilles Villeneuve in Montreal during the Canadian Grand Prix Formula One race. That event, in front of tens of thousands of F1 fans and the F1 paddock, is a huge opportunity to impress both on and off the track.

“In 2016, you don’t have a choice,” Chiasson said. “You have to do marketing if you want to stay in business as a race car driver. It’s not a question anymore.”

Chiasson, 27, made a promising start to her Ultra 94 Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge Canada by Yokohama career on May 20-22 at Canadian Tire Motorsport Park (CTMP). She finished ninth and seventh, respectively, in the first two rounds of the 2016 season in the ultra-competitive Platinum Cup class. That performance came despite no prior testing in her No. 27 Porsche Prestige/GT Racing Porsche and no previous experience on the fast, fearsome circuit at CTMP.

The adjustment to a 460-horsepower Porsche 911 GT3 Cup car was an eye-opener for Chiasson, whose previous experience came in karting and lower-powered GT, prototype and touring cars.

“It was a lot to learn in a short time,” Chiasson said. “I was happy because I did my best at CTMP. I think I will be better in Montreal, as I continue to learn. The Porsche is really, really fast. It was a big step. For me, the Porsche is the best.

“IMSA is a really professional series. I appreciate the cars and the marketing for my sponsors. I’m really happy with this series. I really appreciate right now what I’m doing.”

Chiasson is eager for Rounds 3 and 4 in Montreal, as the series runs alongside the Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge USA by Yokohama for the first time on the 13-turn, 2.71-mile (4.36 km) circuit. She became the first female podium finisher at Circuit Gilles Villeneuve when she placed third in 2015 in a touring car race.

“I really like Montreal,” Chiasson said. “It’s my crowd, my people, my friends.”

Chiasson stressed the Montreal event weekend is an important part of her season but isn’t the pinnacle of her year. She’s placing equal relevance on all six event weekends in the Ultra 94 Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge Canada by Yokohama, as she seeks to reach her goals of finishing in the top five in the Platinum Cup championship and provide maximum value and exposure for her impressive list of sponsors.

That savvy balance is an example of Chiasson’s marketing and promotional acumen. She tirelessly promotes her sponsors and auto manufacturers in her role as the founder and CEO of VCE Auto Marketing, which makes presentations on behalf of auto dealerships and manufacturers, and also through racing in the Ultra 94 Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge Canada by Yokohama.

For example, the announcement of her Platinum Cup ride this season in the series took place at an elegant reception for customers, guests, friends and family at the Porsche Prestige dealership showroom in Montreal. The event attracted media coverage and also was captured in polished, professional videos featured on Chiasson’s website and social media.

That professional presentation and media attention thrilled the Groupe Gabriel, which owns Porsche Prestige and also sponsored Chiasson’s touring car efforts in 2015. Chiasson said it also drew the attention of Porsche officials in Germany, who requested copies of her videos featuring the gala car launch.

Chiasson’s transformation into a dynamic, outgoing business professional is quite a change from her early years as a teenager in motorsport, immediately after she left a promising career in dressage for another kind of horsepower.

“When I was young, I was really shy and stayed in the trailer and was really shy with the media,” Chiasson said. “But after that, I had no choice. If I wanted to continue racing, I said: ‘Let’s go. I have to do marketing. I have to speak to media. I have to try. If I don’t try, I won’t do anything.’”

Chiasson has carried that proactive attitude into her role on the FIA Women in Motorsport commission. She is one of 18 representatives from around the world who work with rallying legend Michele Mouton and F1 test driver Susie Wolff to pave paths for more women to enter motorsport in all capacities, both in the driver’s seat and in the paddock as engineers or team managers.

That role involves trips to Europe for meetings. Chiasson attended the Monaco Grand Prix last month, where she represented the FIA and also participated in a question-and-answer session for corporate guests aboard a yacht with three-time 24 Hours of Le Mans winner Allan McNish.

“This is my role, to convince people it’s possible for every girl,” Chiasson said. “It’s not easy; it’s a male world. But when you have a big dream you can do it.

“You have to do it. That’s it. No matter what they say, no matter what they think. When you think like that, nobody can stop you.”