While Pascal Wehrlein hasn’t made a career in the ring, he’s undeniably inherited his father’s fighting spirit, exhibiting an unrelenting will to win every time he sits behind the wheel of his Formula E car.
With a relationship forged in fire, the Porsche driver and his dad, Richard, have gone on an incredible journey. Growing up, the born-athlete idolised his father, who showcased tremendous grit and determination in the German boxing championships.
While most parents have fond memories of their children waking up on Christmas morning, to see what Santa Claus had left them, Richard never had that experience. Instead, his sleep was broken by his enthusiastic son, who was chomping at the bit to drag him downstairs to watch overseas races.
In an exclusive interview with Sporf, the Formula E icon reminisced: “No one in my family was a racing driver. My dad was a boxer when he was younger. But it was always my goal to become a racing driver. I remember when I was young, I followed every single motorsport event on television with my dad, who was a big fan. I remember waking him up when I was 4-years-old at five or six in the morning when there was an F1 race in Australia.”
Pascal Wehrlein and his father have gone on a remarkable road to Formula E glory
Like many youngsters, from the moment Wehrlein first experienced the thrills of a race day, he never looked back. Utterly enthralled by the adrenaline of watching the cars zoom past, he knew he had to find a way to make driving his life.
He explained: “Me and Dad went together to Ockenheim in 1999 or 2000 when I was five years old, and that was a really special event for me because walking from the parking to the track and the grandstand, I could hear the cars and the sound of the spectators. With me being such a young kid, it was fascinating. I remember sitting in the grandstand watching the race and telling my parents from that day onward that I wanted to be a racing driver.”
Pascal Wehrlein recruited his dad as a mechanic
While the youngster had his heart set on a career in racing, convincing his parents that it was the right move was another matter. But in a testament to his passion for cars, his unrelenting persistence eventually paid off, with his mother and father finally folding and allowing him to start karting lessons. And the rest, as they say, is history. Wehrlein excelled, becoming one of the best drivers in the business, with his dad playing a vital part in his progression.
The 29-year-old said: “It took me three years to convince my parents to finally let me start karting. I began when I was eight, and from then, it went very fast. In the beginning, it was fun. I was going indoor karting every Tuesday for young kids like me.
“Then we heard about the indoor South German championships, so on the weekends, I did that championship. I won it in my first season and then discovered the outdoor championship; I thought, ‘Let’s try that’. At this point, it got more professional, because I had my own car and a mechanic. Luckily, my dad is very talented, and he was my mechanic for four years.”
Pascal Wehrlein is making a name for himself in Formula E
From a boy watching the racing in the crowd to becoming one of the very best competitors on the planet, Wehrlein’s tale is nothing short of amazing. Following a stint in Formula 1 and a championship win in DTM, the formidable racer has found his home in Formula E, mesmerising his supporters with awe-inspiring showings on the track.
In particular, Wehrlein impressed during his sublime victory in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia.
He beamed: “We’d had some highlights before, but fighting for the championship is something very different.”
Wehrlein continued: “Starting the season, we had some doubts. But as it turned out, we started well in Mexico with a P2, and in Riyadh, I qualified P9. Going into the race, I never would’ve believed I could win it. That, for me, was a very special moment because it was such a cool race. It was really good and a great relief for the whole team. The next day, I won the race again from P5. That day, I said, ‘If yesterday I won from P9, I can do it again today’. Winning the second race was very special.”
With talent coursing through his veins, fans can’t wait to see the gifted driver back in action. And luckily, they don’t have long to wait as the season kicks off on January 13, with the Hankook Mexico City E-Prix, live on TNT Sports.
Featured Image Credit: Pascal Wehrlein / Formula E