“By being a racing driver means you are racing with other people, and if you no longer go for a gap that exists, you are no longer a racing driver. Because we are competing, we are competing to win. And the main motivation to all of us is to compete for victory. It is not to come third, fourth, fifth or sixth. – Ayrton Senna
If you are a racer you can relate to that, can’t you?
Whether you are a friend, family member, crew member, or driver you are at the track for one reason, because you want your team to win. You are competing for the victory. You do not invest all that you have into this deal just to make laps; you do it because you are a ‘racing driver’, and your ‘main motivation is to compete for victory.’
There is a certain tenacity and passion that accompanies a ‘racing driver’.
A few years ago at South Boston Speedway a friend of mine, Mike, introduced me to the life and story of Ayrton Senna. I was just 13 years old when Ayrton’s started his last race, and I was not a follower of F1 racing, so I was completely blind to his story. Following our race at SoBo I sat in a restaurant parking lot waiting for some friends for dinner and watched Senna on Netflix.
I watched it three more times that week.
Ayrton, who many label one of the greatest drivers of all time, was a remarkable competitor. The film, Senna, transported us into Ayrton’s life; it offered an intimate look at both the fierce tenacity for which he raced and the rivalries and politics of the sport that he had to overcome. ESPN commentator Jim Bisagno said of Senna, “He would take the car beyond its designed capabilities. He would brake later, fly into these corners when the car was just over the edge, and somehow he could dance a dance with that car to where it stayed on the track.”
Amidst one of the larger political struggles that Ayrton faced in F1, team principal Ron Dennis told Senna, “If you are true to your values, if you believe that your values are correct, then walking from the dark forces that you are faced with in life just doesn’t become an option.” Despite the risk, challenges and political forces he faced, Ayrton raced to win. He fixed his eyes on the prize, and he pushed forward.
Dennis’ words hit deep. As people, we are all running a race. As the writer of the book of Hebrews wrote, “…let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus.”
We are all racing towards a finish, to an end. What we are racing towards determines how we are going to race. If our end is status or fame, we will trample others as we work to puff ourselves up. If our end is a high position or promotion, we will sacrifice family and relationships for our work. If our end is material and financial wealth, we will compromise our ethics and integrity to amass what we want.
If our end is Jesus, we will run with perseverance, our eyes fixed on Him. The dark forces that we face in life cannot deter us. Ayrton was not slowed by the opposition, he raced harder because of it. As we race towards our end in Jesus, may we have that same tenacity and ferocity. In 1 Corinthians Paul charged us to “run in such a way to get the prize.”
You don’t show up at the racetrack to lose. In the same way, none of us should look at the breath of life as anything less than an opportunity to race to win in life.
In Paul’s final charge to Timothy he wrote, “But you, man of God, flee from all this, and pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, endurance and gentleness. Fight the good fight of the faith. Take hold of the eternal life to which you were called when you made your good confession in the presence of many witnesses.” 1 Timothy 6:11-12
In other words…race to win!