Rising Stars Profile Vol. 6 – Natalia Gładysz & Tyler Robinson

FIA Girls on Track – Rising Stars profile series:
Vol. 1 – Jessica Edgar & Maya Weug
Vol. 2 – Milla Sjöstrand & Doriane Pin
Vol. 3 – Ella Stevens & Kinga Wójcik
Vol. 4 – Mariana Machado & Toni Kayla Naudé
Vol. 5 – Esmee Kosterman & Astrid Almlöf

In June, The FIA and its Women in Motorsport Commission announced the launch of “FIA Girls on Track – Rising Stars” program, where 20 young female drivers will participate in a selection program. The best out of the program could be awarded a one-year contract to join the Ferrari Driver Academy (FDA) programme for an FIA Formula 4 season in 2021.

This week, we continue with the FIA Girls on Track – Rising Stars profile series, and give you Natalia Gładysz & Tyler Robinson.

Natalia Gładysz

Natalia Gładysz is from Poland. She started racing karts when she was 8 years old. She placed 4th in Polish Championships, Polish Youth Championships and the ROTAX Max Challenge Poland Cup in 2017. This season, after a one year break last season, Natalia is competing in the Junior Rok GP category of Poland Rok Cup.

© Photos provided by Adam Gładysz

Paddock Sorority (PS): Can you tell us about your first exposure to motorsport and how you started karting? Do you remember your first experience in a go-kart?

Natalia Gładysz (NG): As a little girl, I used to go watch my Dad’s races. Mum almost always took me and my brother Maciek to races regardless of whether they took place in Poland or abroad. My Dad is a multiple Polish champion. He has successfully raced in the international series of VW Scirocco R-Cup, Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge, and 24h Dubai.

He was also, together with my grandpa Janusz, the organizer of the Volkswagen Castrol Cup series in 2005-2006 and 2013-2015.

My first contact with karting was indoor karting. Dad took me and my brother to go karting and it all started there, I was 7 years old then. Then we went to an open kart track with a racing kart to train. My first race was on the track in Poznań. I competed in show races in the Micro Max category. I was 8 years old then and I loved the competition and karting.

PS: What made you decide you want a career as a professional driver? Currently what’s your career goal as a driver?

NG: I really liked the rivalry and adrenaline that undoubtedly accompanies racing.  I grew up on the track from an early age, so racing is an inseparable part of my life.  I was racing in the Rotax Max Challenge Poland, Central Eastern Europe, Rok Cup Poland series in the Mini Rok category and now, after a one-year break, I have returned to the track and compete in the Junior Rok category.

PS: From whom did you learn the most about driving and racing?

NG: I learned the most from my Dad. He was my coach and mentor. He always supports me a lot during the races and makes sure that everything has been taken care of for me to start the race.

PS: Is there a racing idol for you? How have they impacted you and your racing?

NG: Yes, it’s Lewis Hamilton. I appreciate him for what he has achieved in sports. Despite the passage of years, he still has a great determination to win races and win championships. He was also very successful in karting.

PS: How are your family supporting you in your career?

NG: They support me a lot. Not only are they my biggest supporters, but also plan my trips, trainings and races for me. My dad secures the budget for me so that I need to think only about racing and good preparation for the race. 

PS: What has been your best memory in your career so far?

NG: It was the race in Mini Rok on the track in Zielona Góra. I started from pole position and took 3rd place overall in a very strong competition.

PS: How are you juggling school work, training, and racing?

NG: It is not easy. But I don’t neglect school. Even if I have to miss classes because of trainings or races, I make up for it all. The school is very important and I definitely keep an eye on the classes.

PS: How are you preparing for the shoot-out in October?

NG: I prepare myself in the gym under the supervision of my trainer. Besides, I train on the track and recently compete in the Rok Cup Poland series in the Junior Rok category.

Tyler Robinson

Tyler Robinson is 12 years old from South Africa. She is one of the youngest participants and the only participant from Africa in the Rising Stars program. This season, Tyler is competing in Junior Max class in ROTAX Max Challenge and OK Junior class of ROK Cup with Parolin Racing.

© Photos provided by Raymond Cornwell

Paddock Sorority (PS): Can you tell us about your first exposure to motorsport and how you started karting? How was your first experience in a go-kart (if you still remember it)?

Tyler Robinson (TR): My father, Kyle, raced motorcycles in South Africa. When I was 6 years old, he took me to the kart circuit nearby where I experienced my first time in a kart. It was, however, only three years later that I participated in my very first race, albeit socially. It was the start of something fantastic and I took to karting very quickly. It seems I inherited my father’s passion for racing who is now my coach and engineer.

PS: What made you decide you want a career as a professional driver? Currently what’s your career goal as a driver?

TR: I’d like to improve at every event and eventually win as many races as I can. Karting is very competitive, but I believe I can win. I hope to race one day in Formula 1.

PS: Who have you learned the most from regarding racing? You quoted Brad Binder as one of your racing heroes when he won his first MotoGP race, what can you learn from established riders/drivers like him?

TR: At the moment, I have a few people who are teaching me various things about racing. My dad is instrumental here as well as a few former karters who are all part of my preparation for the FIA Girls on Track – Rising Stars shoot-out.

Brad hails from the same area as I, and I have had the pleasure of meeting him before he moved up to MotoGP. He’s a very nice person. I’d like to be successful like Brad one day.

PS: How are your family supporting you in your career?

TR: My financial backing is from the family-run business. My parents dedicate all their time to assist me in preparation for the shoot-out in France. Everything is concentrated around my preparation and training. My mother makes sure my schooling is also up-to-date.

Tyler’s family supporting her at the circuit

PS: What has been your best memory in your career so far?

TR: Receiving the news that I’ve been selected for the FIA Girls on Track – Rising Stars program.

PS: What has been the biggest challenge or difficulty you have to overcome to be where you are today?

TR: Being a girl in a male-dominated sport is never easy, but I don’t see it as a disadvantage as we are all competing together. There are no excuses from my side. I need to beat them all if I want to achieve success. I believe having the right mindset when it comes to competing is my biggest challenge. But I’m overcoming that challenge very quickly.

PS: What is a typical day like for you with school work and training?

TR: I train five days a week at present which includes practice at the circuit. Motorsport has again resumed here in South Africa, so I’m also competing almost every other weekend in either a ROTAX race or a ROK CUP race. In between, I have to make time for school word and private time. It’s been the busiest time of my young 12-year life.

PS: You learned bladesmith during the lockdown, what other hobbies outside of racing do you have?

TR: Yes, my dad is quite a keen maker of knives and we did a little project together during the lockdown. It was quite fun actually. I also enjoy swimming and watching YouTube videos.

PS: How are you preparing for the shoot-out in October?

TR: I have a strict training regime with my fitness coach, Sean Frosty. He also assists me at the circuit where we do hundreds of laps a week practising all sorts of things, including racecraft.

We temporarily conclude the series here. There are still a few young drivers in the program. However, at the moment, we haven’t been able to get ahold of them for interviews.

It has been such a great honor and pleasure to get to know these young women and learn about their stories. We wish all the young drivers in the program can do their best in the shoot-out and the subsequent selection processes. Whatever the outcome, we wish them all a very bright and successful career ahead.


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