Max Chilton is a British racing driver who currently competes in the Indy Car Series, driving the #8 Honda for Chip Ganassi Racing. Chilton debuted in the premier American single-seater series in 2016, after spending one season (2015) in the Indy Lights series. Prior to that, Chilton recorded 35 Formula One starts with Marussia F1 Team in 2013 and 2014. Earlier in a career, he spent three seasons in Formula 3 and three seasons in the GP2 Series.
Starting a career with karting and T Cars
Max Chilton was born on April 21, 1991, in Redhill, Surrey. As a ten-year-old boy, he started a career in karting. In 2005, he switched into T Cars Series, reserved for drivers between 14 and 17. He finished eighth in the points in his debut season, before finishing third in the Autumn Trophy. Next year, he finished as the championship runner-up, behind Luciano Bacheta.
British Formula 3 since 2007
Chilton made a step further in 2007, entering the British Formula 3 Championship with Arena International team. He gets a special permission to start a season because he was below the required age of 16. Without podiums or wins, he finished 18th in the final standings of his debut F3 season,
During 2007, Chilton had guest appearances in two other competitions. In September, he participated in the Le Mans Series race at Silverstone, sharing Arena Motorsport's Zytek LMP1 prototype with his older brother Tom. They finished in the sixth place. Max also participated in one race of the American Star Mazda series.
Max Chilton as a Formula 3 driver
Two more seasons in Formula 3
For the 2008 Formula 3 season, Chilton moved to Hitech Racing. He reached his first podium in the season-opening race at Oulton Park, finishing second behind Oliver Turvey. Later, Chilton scored one more podium at Rockingham and finished 10th in the final standings. At non-championship Macau Grand Prix, he finished 14th.
He moved to Carlin Motorsport for the 2009 season, the team co-owned by his father. Max took three pole positions in the first four races but had to wait for his first win until the last round at Brands Hatch. Max finished fourth in the points. In 2009, Chilton participated in one race of the Formula Renault 3.5 Series, driving for Comtec Racing at Monza.
The season 2012 was Chilton's best year in the GP2 Series
Graduated to GP2 Series in 2010
Between the seasons 2009 and 2010 Chilton participated in the GP2 Asia Series with Barwa Addax Team, then joining Ocean Racing Technology for the full season in the 2010 GP2 Series. Without wins or podiums, with a fifth place as the best result, Chilton finished 25th in the points.
For the 2011 GP2 Series season, Chilton rejoined Carlin but his results weren't better. He finished 20th in the final standings, not scoring wins or podiums, with the sixth place as the best result. In November 2011, Chilton participated in the Young Driver Formula One test at Abu Dhabi's Yas Marina Circuit, driving for the Force India.
Two GP2 wins and test drives for Marussia
In 2012, Chilton remained with Carlin in the GP2 Series, now with backing from the Marussia F1 Team, serving as their test driver. Chilton finally captured his first GP2 victory in the ninth round of the season, at Hungaroring. He added one more victory in the season's finale at Marina Bay Street Circuit, finishing fourth in the final standings.
While competing in the GP2 Series, Chilton debuted in the Formula One event with Marussia, participating in the first practice session at Abu Dhabi Grand Prix in November.
Chilton spent two F1 seasons with Marussia
2013 - Formula One debut with Marussia
For the 2013 Formula One season, Chilton was confirmed as a driver of #23 MR02-Cosworth for the Marussia F1 Team, alongside Jules Bianchi in the #22 car. Driving for struggling team, Chilton's best result was 14th place at Monaco Grand Prix.
It's interesting that he crossed the finish line in all nineteen races he participated, as the only driver who managed to do that.
Twenty-five races without DNFs
Marussia retained Chilton for the 2014 F1 season, giving him to drive the #4 Ferrari-powered MR03. Chilton finished 13th in the season-opening Australian Grand Prix, repeating that result three weeks later at Bahrain Grand Prix. Chilton continued his streak of races he finished, collecting 25 participations without DNFs.
The season was marred by serious accident of Chilton's teammate Jules Bianchi at Japanese Grand Prix. Bianchi later died of injuries. After participating in 16 races during 2014, Chilton's season ended when Marussia went into administration and then closed down, missing last three rounds.
In 2015, Chilton competed in the Indy Lights Series
Indy Lights season with Carlin
With no F1 seat available for 2015 season, Chilton returned to Carlin to serve as a test driver for the team's Indy Lights efforts. He participated full season in thirteen races of the Indy Lights series, scoring one victory (Iowa Speedway) and six podiums to finish fifth in the points.
Running at 2015 Le Mans 24h with Nissan
In 2015, Chilton was also a part of Nissan's LMP1 program in the FIA World Endurance Championship, as one of the drivers in the #23 Nissan GT-R Nismo prototype at 24 hours of Le Mans. He was sharing a car with Olivier Pla and Jann Mardenborough. They retired after 234 laps.
Chilton is driving the #8 car in the IndyCar Series
IndyCar Series with Chip Ganassi Racing
In February 2016, Chilton was announced as one of Chip Ganassi Racing's full-time drivers in the IndyCar Series. He was driving the #8 Dallara-Chevrolet in all sixteen rounds, finishing 19th in the points and third among rookies. His best result was 7th place at Phoenix Grand Prix but he also set the fastest lap time at Kohler Grand Prix at Road America. In his Indianapolis 500 debut, Chilton started 22nd and finished 15th.
For the 2017 IndyCar season, Chip Ganassi Racing retains Chilton in the #8 car, switching from Chevrolet to Honda engine.