AFTER a two-year hiatus from motorsport, self-proclaimed tomboy Natasha Chang renews her love this weekend at Dover Raceway in St Ann.
"I took a personal break, but it felt like a piece of me was missing," she told Auto. "Once in your blood, there's nothing like motor racing."
According to Chang, that passion began early in her life. While other girls played with dolls, she was indoors playing video games, especially ones involving cars. She didn't grab her first taste of competition until 2006 when she was introduced to the ground floor of motorsports — go-karting racing. She eventually shifted gears to other areas of the sport.
"I bought myself a rear-wheel drive Toyota DX, using it primarily in dexterity events. Then, eventually I moved to a rally car, which I used in Jamaica and overseas."
"I was the only woman to be driving a four-wheel-drive, turbocharged machine," she said.
Rally is where her heart lies.
"I love rallying, it's just a different experience to circuit racing, but Dover is where it's at now."
Her new ride, a Honda Civic, gets ready to race with some elite company at Dover's second meet for the year.
"We unfortunately weren't able to make the season opener, but thanks to my sponsors, this weekend is looking good. And I intend to compete for the rest of the year."
When asked how she deals with being in a male-dominated sport, Natasha replies:
"The car doesn't know if you're a man or woman, and honestly, once you've proven yourself the stereotypes of a female driver tend to disappear from those racing around you. I'm not afraid to push back, if pushed."
As for the physical nature of the sport, she had this to say.
"I've been exercising for the past month to get myself to race fit. It's a tough time sitting in a hot car, in a racing suit. It is very taxing, but there's just no better feeling once the flag drops."