GoPro Motorplex Karting Challenge Presented by Hoosier Racing Tire Driver of the Week, Mathis Berland, is spending his summer vacation like most other 15-year-old high school students do. “I did absolutely nothing today,” laughs Mathis.
However, in our Driver of the Week interview, we discovered quickly that Mathis’ unique attitude in his first year of karting certainly sets him apart from most kids his age; inspiring even. Mathis competes in The Tire Depot IAME Junior division (12-15 year olds), one of the more competitive divisions in the Karting Challenge series where most drivers have multiple years of experience in karting over Mathis’ five short months. That has never discouraged Mathis, though.
“My lap times are nothing spectacular and my best finish so far is fourth,” Mathis said very honestly. “But, my greatest accomplishment is that I have fulfilled my goal from the beginning of the year which was to have fun. I have definitely accomplished that.”
Mathis’ positive attitude and passion for karting have even inspired his friends from high school.
“I just introduced a friend of mine from school to karting,” said Mathis. “After listening to me talk about it, he got interested and tried out my kart. He just bought his own and has done a few races at Atlanta Motorsports Park. It’s my goal to get him to come with me to GoPro Motorplex in August. He competes in the IAME Junior division too.”
Mathis moved to the United States just three years ago and currently lives in Atlanta, Georgia where he will enroll in his sophomore year of high school at Atlanta International School in the fall.
Even though he was over 4,000 miles away visiting family and friends in his hometown of Normandy, France, we were able to catch up with Mathis for his Driver of the Week interview.
Name: Mathis Berland
Hometown: Normandy, France
Current City: Atlanta, Georgia
School: Atlanta International School
Hobbies: Piano, Mounting Biking, RC Cars and anything motorsports related
Favorite Food: Cheeseburgers and french fries
Favorite Track: GoPro Motorplex
Years Racing: 1st year
Sponsors: Mom, Dad, Grandpa and Grandma
Q: How did you get into karting?
A: My dad does a lot of track days driving cars and he wanted me to have a bit of fun too. The first time I got in a kart was in Germany, but it was just a rental kart. I got my kart this past November, did some testing and my first time racing a kart was at GoPro Motorplex for Round 1 of the Karting Challenge.
Q: GoPro Motorplex is pretty far from Atlanta, how did you decide to race here?
A: Yes, it’s a four hour drive to the Motorplex for us. We heard GoPro Motorplex was a popular track and we never saw the time or distance as a problem. We just wanted to have fun, so it’s worth the drive a couple times a month.
Q: What do you like most about GoPro Motorplex?
A: The facilities in general; it’s very professional and bigger than most places. The track is great quality. I think I like everything.
Q: Have you visited lots of other kart tracks?
A: In Europe in general, karting is huge and lots of kids do it. I did participate in a driving school at a track called RKC. It’s close to Paris, France. It was voted best track in Europe a few years ago. I also go to Atlanta Motorsports Park for their club races.
Q: Are you happy with your decision to start in the IAME Junior division?
A: Yes, very happy. We weren’t really sure where to start and we visited KartSport North America kart shop and they recommended the IAME engine. It has been a great engine choice and I think it’s best suited for my weight.
Q: Were you nervous for your first race?
A: Yes, I was very nervous. I didn’t really know what to do or how we would go. But, I just followed the others and ended up finishing second to last, but still had lots of fun!
Q: Who are your biggest fans?
A: My best friend and my entire family. Every time I talk to them about it they are very enthusiastic and ask me lots of questions about my karting!
Q: Who is your favorite driver?
A: Ayrton Senna and Max Verstappen
Q: What do you hope to accomplish this year in karting?
A: A podium finish would not be bad! I want to improve my lap times and keep having fun. In the future, I would like to compete in the USPKS, WKA and Florida Winter touring karting series as well.
Q: What do you want to be when you grow up?
A: I’d like to become a race engineer or maybe design cars or even a professional racing driver. Those would be my top-three. I’ve been visiting some colleges; one in Canada and some here in the U.S.
Q: What would you tell someone who is thinking about trying karting?
A: I would just tell them to not be scared to fail. I have failed many times at a race. If you want to do it, just know why you want to and keep that in mind to let it push you so that you have fun and accomplish your goals.
NEXT UP: Round 6, July 11:
Round 6 of our 10-round club series will be on Saturday, July 11. The series features 10 divisions for kart owners as well as the Rental Kart Light and Heavy division. Each segment of the Karting Challenge Presented by Hoosier Racing Tire consists of two practice sessions, qualifying and two finals per division. The race day starts at 8:30 a.m. and Spectator Admission is free! Competitors can pre-register in advance at a discounted rate on MotorsportReg.com. For more information on the Karting Challenge series, CLICK HERE>>
2015 Driver of the Week Program:
The Driver of the Week program is new for the 2015 Karting Challenge Presented by Hoosier Racing Tire. The goal of this program is to spotlight our club series karters each week leading up to a Karting Challenge race. Each “Driver of the Week” will be chosen at random by blind draw from Driver Bio forms that are returned. Each “Driver of the Week” will represent one of our 10 divisions. Competitors can click here to complete a Driver Bio Form>>