At 16 years of age, Mario Gil is developing into a skilled, young karter in North America. His passion and love for racing did not just start at the age of 5 when he was first introduced to karting, it actually began as early as he could walk and talk. He has been surrounded by cars and racing his whole life.
The first and only toys Mario would play with as young as the age of 1 were large die-cast model cars and Hot Wheels. Instead of watching shows that most other children his age watched, at the young age of 2, Mario was already watching the early Fast and Furious movies and he enjoyed the Hot Wheels Acceleracers animated series. As he watched these movies, he would grab a few of the exact same cars he was watching on screen and then reenact the scenes on the couch or countertops. Young Mario’s first words were the names of cars and by the age of 4, Mario could name most car makes and models simply by looking at their wheels or trunks. Everyone who met him thought it was quite amazing to see someone so small be so focused on one thing; cars.
At the age of 5, Mario was faced with a diagnosis of a rare form of Cancer called, LCH (Langerhans Cell Histiocytosis). The disease caused him to have multiple bone lesions and serious base of skull involvement. During the course of the disease, his pituitary was damaged leaving him with another rare and lifelong condition called, Diabetes Insipidus. It took 2 years for the doctor’s at Children’s Hospital to control the LCH, but there is no cure for the Diabetes. While going through chemotherapy and undergoing many surgeries and scans, Mario’s enjoyment of cars and racing are what kept him upbeat and happy. Mario has had to face many challenges in his life so far, but he has pushed through them and he does not want to waste any more time. He wants to race and show everyone what he can do!
Mario started with Italian Motors at the age of 7, racing in a cadet kart with a 100cc, two-stroke engine. He has continued to move up through the race classes, and will be moving up to the fastest and most competitive class in karting, Senior Shifter, in the 2020 race season. Mario will be racing with a new team this year, Catalyst Driver Development, as well as select races with Italian Motors.
The 2019 race season was Mario’s final year in the Junior class, and he accomplished as much as he could. Mario was able to qualify first at the single F-Series race he attended in North Carolina, but some bad luck in the races knocked him out of contention. Mario then competed in all 10 ICP Cup races in Washington and Oregon, finishing on the podium in all 10 races and winning 6 out of the 10. These strong finishes secured Mario the ICP Cup Championship in Tag Junior. With first in the championship, Mario was awarded a free entry ticket into one of the largest karting races in North America, Rok The Rio in Las Vegas. Overcoming engine issues all weekend and still showing great speed, Mario’s luck ran out once again getting taken out in the final race. Mario’s goal is to carry this momentum into 2020 and accomplish just as much as 2019 during his rookie season in the Shifter class.
Racing is a passion and an outlet for Mario. It is an integral part of his life and who he wants to become. It is the focus of most of his waking hours. This young man was born to race and is very excited about what the future holds for him and his racing career.