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Martorell, 24/06/2016. – “I’m still not sure, but when I’m older I might want to be a race car driver”. She’s only seven years old and her name is Mathilda, the same name as the team her father competes with - Mathilda #racing Team. She has been smelling petrol fumes since she was an infant baby. Her father, #michaelpaatz, has taken her to several races he has participated in over the years since she was born. He admits that at first he was “terrified” when he realised 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 is right at home in the boxes. “What are these buttons for, dad?” “You use them to talk through the microphone” “And what about this one – what’s it for?” “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.
Today is one of the most sought-after events on the calendar. We are at the legendary Nürburgring circuit, which is hosting the 24 hours on the Nordschleife loop. The weather is bad, with heavy rain showers and intermittent hailstorms, but the participants do not mind. And there’s Michael #racing for Mathilda #racing Team in his #seat Leon Cup Racer in the TCR category. Before the race begins father and daughter 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”. At that time, he says that “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.
SEAT is the only company that designs, develops, manufactures and markets cars in Spain. A member of the Volkswagen Group, the multinational has its headquarters in Martorell (Barcelona), exporting more than 80% of its vehicles, and is present in over 75 countries. In 2015, SEAT’s turnover amounted to over 8.3 billion euros, the highest in its history, and the company achieved worldwide sales of more than 400,000 units for the first time since 2007.
SEAT Group employs more than 14,000 professionals at its three production centres – Barcelona, El Prat de Llobregat and Martorell, where it manufactures the highly successful Ibiza and Leon. Additionally, the company produces the Ateca and the Toledo in the Czech Republic, the Alhambra in Portugal and the Mii in Slovakia.
The multinational has a Technical Centre, which operates as a knowledge hub that brings together 1,000 engineers who are focussed on developing innovation for Spain’s largest industrial investor in R&D. #seat already features the latest connectivity technology in its vehicle range and is currently engaged in the company’s global digitisation process to promote the mobility of the future.
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