Formula Ford champion Adriano Medeiros went looking for juicy race tips from the pros he looked up to. What he found not only changed the way he races but the way he lives.
As 2016 raced to the finish it ended up being a good year for Adriano Medeiros who recently won the UK's Classic Formula Ford cup as well as a race at the Britcar Production Championship in a BMW E46.
His years of experience tutoring competitive drivers in everything from saloons and GTs to Sports Racing Prototypes, plus his involvement with Palmer Motorsport, Jaguar Land Rover, McLaren, VW and the Top Gear Live Show, paid off as he took to the podium.
The Brazilian-born racer shared his real motivation for competitive racing with Challenge.
"We had 8 wins this season and it feels great to do your best for the honor and glory of God. I do what I love and I do that to glorify God," he explains.
It is not hard to spot what he stands for – Adriano brandishes his team name 'Jesus Saves Racing' on his helmet, overalls, and red racing car whenever possible.
This over-arching passion for telling people about Jesus, however, has not 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.
This quest was halted after Adriano came 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.
I realized there had to be more to lifeHis 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 [it] 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 had gone to the meeting with an agenda of wanting to gain some help and tips in racing from these seasoned professionals, but he was impacted in a different way than expected.
"I already believed that God existed but I soon realized 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 shared her distress about her father having died without accepting Jesus as his personal Lord and Savior.
"At that time my mother had died a year before and my grandmother was in hospital after a heart attack. I realized 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 realized it was not enough to just believe in God "for even the demons believe this and tremble", as is explained in James chapter 2 verse 19. Rather, he had to acknowledge Jesus as the Son of God, and the only 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 the United Kingdom where he currently works as a race-car driving instructor.
"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 is father to young son Daniel.
"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."•