Two generations, one legendary racing family! Monster Energy is proud to welcome racing icon Petter Solberg and pro racer son Oliver ‘Oli’ Solberg from Scandinavia on the sports and pop culture podcast UNLEASHED with The Dingo and Danny.
The Solberg family has become synonymous with pro racing across the globe. Petter Solberg is the 2003 World Rally Champion, while son Oliver is the 2020 FIA ERC1 Junior Champion. It runs in his blood: Oliver’s mother happens to be former rally driver Pernilla Solberg, and he began attending world-class race events before the age of 1. By age 6, he was already competing as a race driver. Discover how Petter and Oli experience the changing sport of racing in their individual careers, and what drives them to keep upping the ante – only on UNLEASHED.
“I did ice hockey, I did soccer, and I did all these other sports but automatically just went into motorsports. Because all these other sports were boring. The adrenaline you get when you drive is just something else. And then I knew, that’s what I want to do!” said Oli Solberg.
Petter Solberg was born into a family of rally enthusiasts, as his parents were competing in a sport called bilcross that was popular in Norway, which revolves around upgraded cars customized in home garages. “It’s the biggest motocross in Sweden and Norway basically. They are very low-class cars, maybe 300 people are driving it. So we built cars and engines when were young and it was fun driving these cars outside the farm where we built them,” said Petter Solberg.
Petter’s milestone moment arrived in 2014 when he won the FIA World Rallycross Championship, after five race wins and nine podium finishes. He also repeated the feat in 2015. Born into this legacy, Oli also gets a lot of racing influence from his mother: Pernilla is the daughter of 1980 European Rallycross Champion, Per-Inge Walfridsson, and also counts several race enthusiasts on her side of the family. “It’s just automatic because the whole family is doing it!” said Oli about his upbringing.
Aside from being dragged to racetracks as a child, Oli developed an interest in racing crosskarts early on. He proved his native talent by winning the first races starting at age 8, becoming sponsored and then winning the Norwegian Championship. “The main thing was just to enjoy the races, and then you won. It was very natural in those days. Then it just builds up more and more – and you want more and more,” says Oli Solberg.
Since then, Oli has moved on to ‘real’ rally cars and already has milestones like the 2020 FIA ERC1 Junior Champion and 2019 Latvian Rally Champion under his belt. Now competing with the ‘big dogs’ of the sports, Oli is finding his groove and refining his skills – and learning to deal with adversity. “It’s easy when you’re only winning, but now, I’m actually learning a lot and working on myself.”
Speaking on passing the torch to younger generations, Petter Solberg said: “My mother and father were very good drivers, but it has to come from inside you. You have to want it a lot!”