Behind The Helmet: Maro Engel – Part 1
Maro, how did you first get into motor racing?
Maro Engel: I grew up with Nico (Rosberg) as most fans probably already know. We went to kindergarten together and soon got along very well, as we were the only German children there. So, we became friends very quickly and also used to play together in our spare time. At some point, Keke (Rosberg) said to my dad, 'Do you know what, I'm going to get Nico a go-kart for his birthday. How about getting Maro one? Then the boys can spend time down at the track, and we can enjoy our holidays.' Fortunately, my dad answered: 'Yeah, why not?' And that's how it all started.
What happened subsequently?
Maro Engel: After that, we used to have fun, messing around in the mini karts. We then took them back home to Monaco, where I would practise with Nico at weekends. Our parents eventually started up a kart team together, and we contested our first races with the team at around ten years of age. We then went our separate ways from a racing point of view. I competed in junior kart races in Germany and Nico in Italy.
How did you come to grow up in Monaco?
Maro Engel: My parents moved to Monaco when I was three. My father was a fashion designer and even launched his own brands later on. He met Prince Albert at an event somewhere along the line, and he suggested to my dad that he should move headquarters to Monaco. My mother and my wife kept one of the brands going, but my dad bailed out when they split up. He now lives in Brazil.
You just mentioned your wife, Steffi, to whom you recently got married. That must have been the highlight of your year?
Maro Engel: Yes, absolutely, our wedding was beautiful. Everything was amazing that day. We got the bright blue sky we'd always dreamed of and found it really fantastic, far more beautiful than we could ever have imagined. It was a very special day.
But you couldn't get married without involving motor racing, could you?
Maro Engel: It was a totally amazing experience. We were blown away when the team told us we could use a Mercedes-AMG C 63 DTM as our wedding car. Steffi said straightaway that we definitely had to go for it given half a chance. She thought the idea was brilliant! It was an amazing feeling, driving away from the church down the narrow road through the small fishing village and out along the coast with my wife in a DTM car. Neither of us could stop smiling. It was absolutely fabulous!
You got involved with Mercedes AMG's customer racing programme after your first spell in the DTM. What did you learn along the way?
Maro Engel: It was an opportunity for me personally after my first four seasons in the DTM. I owe a lot to the Customer Sport programme and Mercedes-AMG. It's why I'm still a keen competitor in the big GT races. I really enjoy them. But of course, the idea that I hadn't quite finished with the DTM was always lurking at the back of my mind. I was well up for another chance and intended to grab it. I worked hard towards that goal and got the chance to line up again this year on the same basis as my team-mates.