Chantal Wagner has petrol running through her veins. Already at the age of two, she wanted to become a motorsport racer. At the age of five, she rode her first quad bike. Today, the 14-year-old is a four-time German Champion in this discipline and last year, she started driving Junior Dragsters in the team of Gerd Habermann, the multiple German Dragrace Champion and European record holder. Mid-May, she visited our Technik Museum Sinsheim and went for a spin with her dragster on our parking.
"It was only logical for me to get into motorsport. My grandpa Klaus was a motorsport racer, just like my parents. My grandpa drove sidecar combinations, my father quad bikes and my mother karts. I was two years old when I went to my first motorcycle race. Back then, as a little child, I thought, “I want that, too!” At the age of four, I had my first little motorcycle that I used to ride on the field... until I fell down. That’s when I realised, “No, in fact, I don't want this!”
At some point, I told my grandpa that I wanted to ride a quad bike, just like my father. He then bought me a quad bike and that’s how everything started. I always particularly liked the speed and driving through the mud. In total, I drove quad bikes for seven years. In 2012, I started participating in races, however, I was not very successful – I was still a beginner. In the third year, I then became German Vice Champion. The following years were quite victorious for me. I won the German Championship four years in a row.
As always, it was my grandpa who then got me into drag racing. He asked me if I wanted to come to the NitrOlympix at the Hockenheimring with him. At the time, I didn’t know it was a drag racing event, but he really wanted to show it to me. I really liked it there.
At the NitrOlympix, I also met Gerd Habermann for the first time and we became friends. I visited his pit and he told us that he had a Junior Dragster he wanted to sell.
At the same time, I was thinking about quitting quad racing. I had been promoted to the next class, but I would have been the only female driver in that class – that wouldn’t have worked.
I definitely wanted to try drag racing. We agreed that, if I like it, we would buy Gerd’s dragster.
In October 2019, I was in Zerbst, Saxony-Anhalt, with Gerd. There, they regularly carry out dragster races on a former military airfield. In the evening before my very first race, I drove along the course with Gerd. He drove ahead with a scooter, I followed him in my dragster. He said, “Go ahead, speed up!” And since I didn’t know what I was in for, I speeded up. What happened next was a completely new feeling to me! The adrenaline you release when you go that fast, it’s amazing! In Zerbst, I finished second out of eleven participants. So, we bought the dragster. Last January, we even bought another vehicle. Now, I race for Gerd’s racing team. He has always supported junior drivers. He transports the dragsters to the races and takes care of them during the winter. He always helps us when something is broken.
Usually, the first race of the year takes place in Santa Pod (author’s note: a drag racing race track in England). This year, it was cancelled. For now, we don’t know what events are going to take place this year. That means I cannot race at the moment and that’s a shame. Normally, we have our eliminations, the qualification races, on Saturdays. In every race, only one person gets through to the next round, the other one is kicked out. So, the weekend races allow me to train and to know how fast I am, I can be promoted and make progress.
We usually arrive one week before the race. For the races in England at Easter, I would have even been allowed to skip school. One of my teachers said, “Hobbies are more important than school.” I am lucky to have the support of my school, my family and my friends. My classmates think it’s really cool to go to school with a girl who is a motorsport racer.
I have been driving dragsters since last October and that is my future. It is an awesome feeling – you watch the traffic light, it turns green, then you speed up from 0 to over 100 kph in just a few seconds. I love that! On an eighth mile, my dragster reaches 140 kph. On a quad bike, I barely reached about 65 kph.
It’s my dream to become a successful dragster racer – just like Gerd."
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