Things That Matter

Marifer Fontes Is the 7-Year-Old Go-Kart Champion Who Wants To Follow the Footsteps of Her Abuelo, and Be a Formula 1 Racer

Typically, kids answer to questions like “what do yo want to be when you grow up?” with something ranging from doctor and artist, but Marifer Fontes is not one of those kids. Fontes wants to be a race car champion.

She’s not your average seven-year-old Mexican girl. While most children her age are still playing hide-and-go-seek, she’s winning go-kart championships across Mexico. 

According to Angie Barrera, Fontes’s mother, it’s something that she’s always wanted to do. Barrera told the Mexican newspaper Milenio, “She’s fighting to make her dreams reality. She started saying ‘I wanna race, I wanna be a driver’ when she was two years old.” 

When Fontes was four years old, the little girl from the Northern Mexican city of Chihuahua began racing. Fontes, who refers to herself as a pilota profesional, said it all began on Christmas Eve when Santa brought her a go-kart and she decided to follow in the footsteps of her abuelo, who was a race car driver.

Ignacio Fontes, Marifer’s dad, told Telemundo “On that very day she learned how to drive all by herself, surprising all of us. From there, we kept working and developing the abilities that she had until she started to understand the way the car works.”

Fontes can reach up to 37 miles per hour, speeds that can sometimes be dangerous for someone of her size. At a competition in Guadalajara last year, Fontes saw firsthand what can happen when things don’t go as planned. She got into an accident and the car flipped over in the middle of the race. But according to her dad, she was fine and went back to race the next day.

Fontes didn’t let the accident scare her. She told the website CódigoQro: “After my fall, I kept giving it my all without any fears. I don’t care about crashing, what matters to me is winning first, second, or third place. I don’t like to be one of the last ones to finish.”

But Fontes said winning isn’t everything. She’s also motivated by the happiness and emotions that come from racing.

However, she’s still only seven years old and does have dreams outside of go-kart racing, like becoming a veterinarian, teacher, and Formula 1 racer.

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