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From Baby Stroller to Racing Car

Mathilda, seven-year-old girl after whom her father, Michael Paatz, named Mathilda Racing Team, says she might want to be a race car driver, when she is older, reports MATILDA FRANCES

[dropcap]S[/dropcap]he has been smelling petrol fumes since she was a baby. Her father, Michael Paatz, has taken her to several races he has participated in over the years since she was born.

Mathilda and her father ona typical racing outing recently at the legendary Nürburgring circuit

Mathilda father, Mr. Michael Paatz admits that at first he was terrified when he realized he was “pushing a baby stroller among the boxes, thinking do I really want her to be running around a place like this when she’s 3 or 4 years old?”

But the years passed by, and “everyone pitched in to look after her”. Today Mathilda, now seven years of age, is right at home in the boxes, asking her dad many questions for answers to her curiosity, just like this:

Mathilda: What are these buttons for, dad? 
Her Dad: You use them to talk through the microphone
Mathilda: And what about this one – what’s it for? 
Her Dad: That’s the starter button. I don’t use a normal key like the other cars

Mathilda’s curiosity has no bounds and her father is happy to have her with him, when he competes. They make the perfect couple.

A typical father-daughter racing outing happened recently at the legendary Nürburgring circuit, af57c92e-f8de-4314-a097-a67b317aa94458c592ed-003a-42a1-909f-07784487d143hosting the 24 hours on the Nordschleife loop. Though the weather was bad, with heavy rain showers and intermittent hailstorms, Mathilda was there with her father,Michael racing for Mathilda Racing Team in his SEAT Leon Cup Racer in the TCR category. As usual, before a race begins, father and daughter would give each other a big hug. She wishes him good luck while admitting with pride that “he’s the fastest one out there”.

Michael meets up with Mathilda, when the race is over. She climbs right up into the car, puts on the helmet and looks at everything carefully.

Michael knows that Mathilda is thinking about becoming a race driver, but maintains that she will have to make a decision like that when she is between the age of 10 and 12.

“When she’s a bit older to properly think things through,” said Mathilda’s father, “at that time, if she wants to go ahead with it then it’ll be all right. I know the risks and don’t think I’d be against it”.

In this family, the generational succession seems guaranteed.

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