A Christian’s First Season in Motorsport

Rupert Howe, Rookie

Rupert Howe – Rookie

In the beginning…

From an early age I was taken to historic motor racing meetings by my father who, having driven a bit in the 60s, liked to see the cars of his era and earlier race. Watching these races I had for a long time seen that the best racers are in a league of their own, getting the throttle down earlier and more smoothly than the average drivers and pushing their cars closer to the edge of adhesion. I had also noticed the more pedestrian looking drivers towards the back of the field and thought, surely I can do that.


The formula I decided to race in is Classic Formula Ford 1600 (cars must have been built before 1982) and the car I drive is a Royale RP26. I was a complete novice having only been on a go-kart track for the occasional birthday or stag do. My technical knowledge was basically nil and I had to rely on advice from the other competitors in my formula and, for serious mechanical work, used the expertise of MK8 Motorsport, who run various drivers’ cars for them in the series.


Rupert Howe, Christian Racer

Rupert Howe – Christian Racer

So how did the rookie get on?

Firstly I discovered, and was rather taken aback by, just how fast the cars were and the crazy speed that even the ‘more pedestrian’ drivers were achieving. I was now one of these drivers and frankly, though I have improved over the season, would still class myself among them. Unless you have had a go though, don’t underestimate how quick we are going; it might not look that fast from where you are sitting, but from where I am, believe me, it’s quick.


Secondly, I was quietly pretty pleased with my best finish of the season which was 9th out of 16 at Cadwell Park, and 6th in class! Running at the back of midfield for the first time it was great to be closer to other cars; genuinely feeling pressure from the chasing competitors and simultaneously trying to position myself for an overtake of those in front.


Thirdly, what were my most exhilarating moments of the season?  There are so many, from my first overtake ever into Westfield having set it up through Hawthorns on the Brands Hatch GP circuit, to racing live on TV, spinning, saving a spin, getting better at race starts and improving lap times. The two that stand out, however, are taking the first left hander, Coppice, at Cadwell Park flat out in fourth at over 100mph, and the meeting at Thruxton where, despite still being way off the pace, I lapped at an average speed of over 90mph.


Fourthly, what were my most disappointing moments of the season?  These were overheating problems that meant that I did not finish 3 races (thankfully now resolved) and not being able to make it to a few meetings due to work and other commitments.


Rupert Howe, Racing

Rupert Howe – Racing

What has it meant to be racing and a Christian?

Honestly, it has certainly led to some very earnest prayers with regard to staying safe, not smashing the car up and not getting in anyone else’s way. Overall, however, I think it is fair to say that it is no different to how I approach the rest of life as a Christian. I try, despite my faults and mistakes, to serve Christ and others wherever I am and whatever I am doing. In doing this I hope and pray that I should bring God glory. As I write this it seems a very bold statement and I would like to draw attention to the words in it, ‘I try’. I am not really sure how successfully I manage to fulfil this statement, but one thing I do is (if I may be permitted to quote the Good Book), “Forgetting the past and looking forward to what lies ahead, I press on to reach the end of the race and receive the heavenly prize for which God, through Christ Jesus, is calling us.” – Philippians Ch 3 v 13+14


With this verse I am reminded that as Christians we are all running in the same race and this race is by far the most important one we are involved in each season. For me, I will have to take stock after next season and consider whether I am spending God’s budget wisely or whether I should hang up my helmet and try and make a difference for Christ in another avenue of life. In the meantime, I am massively thankful that God has put me in a position where I have been able to enjoy and experience this amazing sport. It has become increasingly clear to me, however, that despite the adrenalin rush and thrill of motor racing, the joy it brings does not come close to the joy of knowing Christ himself, which will last forever.


Thank GOD! Call out his Name!
Tell the whole world who he is and what he’s done!
Sing to him! Play songs for him!
Broadcast all his wonders!
Revel in his holy Name,
GOD-seekers, be jubilant!
Study GOD and his strength,
seek his presence day and night;
Remember all the wonders he performed,
the miracles and judgments that came out of his mouth.

– 1 Chronicles Ch 16 v 8-12


Rupert Howe, Car 52

Rupert Howe – Car 52

Written by Rupert Howe, Car 52


Christians in Motorsport would like to say a big thank you to Rupert for sharing the story of his first season in motorsport with us.  We hope you have enjoyed reading it as much as we have.  Rupert has a tendency to be rather self-deprecating and not acknowledging his own achievements.  We have greatly enjoyed supporting Rupert at some races this season and it has been a real pleasure to see him develop race by race.  At the 1st round at Donington Park, Rupert’s best lap time was over 14 seconds slower than that of the winner; by his last race at Brands Hatch, his best time was less than 3 1/2 seconds off of the winner – a great achievement over the course of the season, especially without any instruction or the opportunities for testing.  I hope you will join us in praying for Rupert in his decision making about next season and we look forward to seeing him at a race circuit again soon. – CiM

(All Images Courtesy of James Wadham Images – many thanks, James)