As the Australian Grand Prix revs up, this Brazilian driver shares about the greatest prize that he found through former F1 racers Fittipaldi and Riberio
After years of experience and tutoring competitive drivers in everything from saloons and GTs to Sports Racing Prototypes, as well as involvement with Palmer Motorsport, Jaguar, Land Rover, McLaren, VW and the Top Gear Live Show, Adriano Medeiros finally got his own time to shine on the winner's podium.
Yet, just before taking out the top spot in the United Kingdom's 2013 National Classic Formula Ford Championship, Brazilian-born Adriano shared his real motivation for competitive racing.
"God is more important than anything, if I win the title or not, the biggest achievement here is just to tell these people that Jesus saves," Adriano said confidently before the big race.
In fact it is not hard to spot what he stands for, brandishing his team's name 'Jesus Saves Racing' on his helmet, overalls and red racing car whenever possible.
This over-arching passion for telling people about Jesus has not, however, always been his primary goal.
"Success and money mean everything in Brazil and you are nothing and have little respect if you don't have these things, so I pursued them," he explains.
“In the race of life I am sure I have already won”This course was significantly altered after coming face to face with his Brazilian heroes in Formula One World Championship racing, Alex Dias Ribeiro and Emerson Fittipaldi.
"I was chasing my dream to become a champion racing driver when a friend suggested that I should go and talk to Alex and Emerson at the track," he recalls.
His curiosity and admiration got the better of him and Adriano agreed to listen to them talk at the Brazilian Christians in Sport meeting that occurred at the Interlagos Racing Circuit every Wednesday evening.
"When I heard these two former F1 drivers talking about Jesus, my ears opened and for the first time I gave credibility to the subject of faith," he shares.
"There had been so many people who had tried to introduce me to Jesus before this but I refused to listen to them because the majority were not people that I particularly respected."
Adriano went with mixed motives to the meeting, wanting to gain some help and tips in racing from these seasoned professionals, but was impacted in a different way than expected.
"I already believed that God existed but I soon realised from what they said that I did not have a relationship with Him and therefore was not saved by Him," he says.
"Afterwards, Alex said to me that he couldn't help me to race but he could help me meet Jesus Christ so I started going to the meetings and took more interest in them because I wanted to be like them."
During the meetings people often shared their experiences and Adriano was particularly challenged when one of his colleagues share her distress about her father having died without accepting Jesus as his personal Lord and Saviour.
"At that time my mother had died a year before and my grandmother was in hospital after a heart attack. I realised there had to be more to life and I understood that I had not adequately planned or thought about the only thing that is certain to happen in this life: death," he says.
"A lot of my questions were answered at that Wednesday Bible study, and I felt so much love in God's Word (the Bible)."
Through studying the Bible, Adriano realised that it was not enough to just believe in God "for even the demons believe this and tremble", as it explains in James chapter 2 verse 19, but that Jesus alone is the one who saves.
At the meeting he prayed with others, asking Jesus for forgiveness and for God's Holy Spirit to come into his life to direct him and save him from his sin.
"God helped me understand that He is the Creator and He knows what is good for me and what is not good. My sins, attitudes and addictions cause problems mainly for myself. I struggled with pornography, sexual immorality and jealousy but, by allowing Jesus to come into my life, He directs me to make the right decisions," Adriano says.
"You see, God loves me so much that He is willing to have a relationship with me and give me the best if I trust in Him."
Six months later, God directed Adriano to move to Europe.
"Since then I have been growing in my faith and I have been blessed with my dream to race. I do not have much money but I have enjoyed racing and working in the motorsport industry here for more than 10 years," Adriano says with a smile.
Adriano is married to Ana and a father of Daniel who is 20 months old.
"Without God I wouldn't have half of the things I have now," he says.
"In the race of life I am sure I have already won since the day I accepted Jesus into my life."•