As a young teenager, Thierry couldn’t talk about anything but cars, no matter with whom or where all he would talk and think about were cars. Mainly the faster ones….
This is one of the reasons Jos Verstappen kept initiating to give Thierry a go-kart, especially now that Max had left go-karting and was competing in FIA Formula 3. Raymond & Simone (Thierry’s parents) were never a fan of the plan, knowing Thierry would most likely be addicted to it after his out lap. After a lot of convincing by Jos, Thierry got his parents to give him an opportunity to try an old Rotax Junior kart. On a cold winter day in 2014, Jos and Thierry headed to Genk. This was his first experience with any sort of motor vehicle. It wasn’t a great success as Thierry didn’t fully understand that you had to warm up the tires, especially on such a cold winter day. This situation is still remembered by Thierry “I remember leaving the pits and spinning every 10 meters as the tires had zero temperature and neither did. I didn’t have any idea how to warm them up. After my first lap, which took me about 5 minutes… Jos ran onto the track, lifted the rear of the go-kart and helped me warm up the tires”.
From here on, Thierry had a great day at Genk together with his mechanic, family friend and coach, Jos Verstappen. Coming home later that day with a big smile, he tried to convince his parents to get him his own go-kart; however, they knew this would be a financial and time commitment they didn’t want to make. But Jos told him that if he would be below the 1-minute lap times with Max’s old Rotax Junior kart, he would buy Thierry a brand new Rotax kart. This meant that Thierry couldn’t stop talking or thinking about karting; all he wanted to do is go to Genk and hit the track, trying to get below the 1-minute benchmark. This goal was achieved, and from here on, Thierry had his own go-kart (2015-2017). The idea of driving in races never took off as Thierry moved houses in early 2017, and his parents insisted that school was a priority. He believed that if he worked hard and paid attention in school, his time on track would come.