An Interview with Matt Christensen
Orlando, Florida resident Matthew Christensen maintains a constant 4.0 GPA despite having missed more than what would be considered a typical amount of school for a high school student. Unfortunately absences and a busy travel schedule are simply unavoidable when you’re on the short list of racing drivers expected to win the United States F4 Championships. For my non-racing enthusiast readers, please allow me to write that in a different way just in case you missed the immense significance of what I just said.
This unassuming high school sophomore only just made the transition from go-karts to car racing last year when he entered the acclaimed Lucas Oil Race Series for the first time. During the 18-race series, Matt was able to achieve 6 wins and 12 podiums despite being a new car racing driver and the youngest driver in the entire series. Now he is racing for Jay Howard Driver Development in the United States F4 Championship. Needless to say, Matt is not exactly your average 16-year-old though you wouldn’t know it in the first few minutes of a conversation with him. The humble teen was seemingly shy and slow to boast of his racing successes, but the longer I chatted with him and learned of his many achievements, the more I began to realize that I was talking to the real deal.
“When I was little I always loved car racing. I always played with my Hot Wheels and would watch NASCAR and the movie ‘Cars’ nonstop. Then my neighbor started going go-karting and he invited us out to the track to try it out. The second I tried it, I fell in love.”
Matt’s career in racing began behind a go-kart at the tender age of nine where he quickly developed a life-changing passion for the high-speed sport. Over the years, Matt won numerous local and regional go-kart championships, even placing in the Top 10 on a national level. However, even though Matt was becoming a household name in the go-karting industry, his heart was calling him to a different racing track all together which is why the switch to cars took place last year. If we’re questioning whether he made the right decision, I think it’s safe to say that his car racing track record speaks for itself. His transition and subsequent ascend up the ranks was just as quick and effortless as the skillful way with which he drives his cars and that’s no coincidence.
“There are no distractions or stress for me when I am behind the wheel. It feels comfortable and natural. I feel like I am one with the car.” -M.C.
Though very much still considered a rookie in the field, Matt has proven himself to be a more than worthy opponent to all who would dare question his youth or inexperience in car racing. In his first ever F4 race, Matt achieved 3rd place overall at race one in Homestead Florida and 1st place overall at round two at Sebring International Raceway for the F4 Winter Series. This impressive accomplishment deserves the utmost praise and recognition especially when you consider the fact that many of these drivers have been competing in the F4 series for 2-3 years.
“My goal is to go on the road to Indy and race Indy cars, but this year I’m doing F4 and if you win that championship you get a scholarship to go to FR. If you win that, you get a scholarship to race in Japan and possibly go to F1 which is obviously the dream.” -M.C.
The juxtaposition between Matt’s soft-spoken voice and the roaring intensity of his beloved racing cars stayed with me for long after our conversation. In spite of his solemn demeanor, the skill and passion he held for his craft was palpable in every single word. Throughout our conversation, he spoke often about his desire to be an IndyCar driver. Fortunately for Matt, there’s only one thing standing in the way of that dream becoming a reality and it’s not a lack of God-given talent, courageous drive or bold ambition. It is quite simply the need for help from supporters and sponsors like you and me. From entry and registration fees to engine leases and more, the ever increasing cost of a racing season goes well into figures that are impossible for a driver to cover on their own without early career assistance.
“Matt has been trying really hard to reach out to local businesses in Orlando in trying to get sponsors and also people who might be interested in investing. If you don’t have the money to compete, then unfortunately you are not going to have the opportunity to go anywhere or do anything with your racing career. I’m just so super proud of him and I can’t even believe all that he’s accomplished in his career.” – Chris Christensen, Father
Matt and his team are currently seeking out all types of donations and sponsors from the individual willing to purchase new tires to companies interested in being featured on the car to share-holding investors and everything in between. His hard work has brought him so far at such a young age and I hope the thought of not seeing that work come to fruition brings as much disappointment to you and it does to me. This quiet, but confident young man has proven time and time again that he has what it takes to win the F4 Championships, qualify for the NTT IndyCar Series and make the city of Orlando proud. Will you be in the driver’s seat with him?
For inquiries about sponsorship or investment, please contact the number listed below:
Chris Christensen (father)