Chitepo ready for raceway challenge

HARARE - It has been utmost pleasure writing about the success stories of my namesake Austin Jeans, a sports medicine doctor and it is even more gratifying to be writing about motor-racing’s new kid on the raceway Austin Chitepo.

At 19, Chitepo is the youngest holder of the National Driver Racing Licence, an assertive and fearless young driver who is inspired to scale even dizzier heights in motor racing than did his now retired father George.

The ex-motor racing par excellency holds the record as one of the most successful black motor racing champions and the incoming champion has politely asked his father to leave the driving seat and allow young blood to rule the roost.

Chitepo a former Milestone College student in Nyanga shares of his desire to be a full-time on the raceway and is excited to be the youngest national driver racing licence holder.

“It feels so awesome and gives me that feeling that I am destined for success. I’m really proud of being in such a position largely because I have proven to myself that I can do it,” Chitepo told the Daily News yesterday.

“Racing is every motor enthusiast’s dream and it takes some people with a lot of natural talent and great machines to win races. And for one to win races, the car must be spot on to avoid DNFs due to mechanical breakdowns.

“No time for weekends or time off, it’s either you are at work, if not then attending to my race car or practising. It’s not easy but it’s what I want to do. I live to race.”

With a steering and wheel-loving dad it is only natural that he would at least have an idea of what motor racing sport is all about but as fate would have it he had to turn down other conventional boyhood sporting disciplines such as soccer, athletics, cricket or rugby for motor sport.

“Ever since I was young I have always wanted to be a racer and it has always been in my blood to deal with fast machines and seeing my dad also getting involved in racing really inspired me a lot and because he set a record for me, I would like to go beyond what he achieved,” Chitepo said.

“My best would be the two hour race which took part on July 16 where I managed to finish my race with an improvement of eight seconds in my lap time though I faced a great challenge with my brake pads that had to be changed three times.

“This took most of the time and really had to thank the mechanics for the hard work they did and afterwards I managed to put up a good fight also putting into consideration that I finished the whole two hours by myself.”

He is excited on the prospects of participating in one of his biggest events so far in Sunday’s “Festive  of Speed’’ set for Donnybrook Race Course.

“Well, I am really excited for this weekend’s event because I have never participated in such a big event and some improvements have been done to the car and I just wanna go out there and do my best,” Chitepo added.

“Firstly, I would have to change the car (where he sees himself in five years’ time). I will need a faster car and I see myself taking part in races outside Zimbabwe representing my country.

“I don’t have a specific car yet but definitely it will have to be a four wheel drive.”

His advice to upcoming aspiring car racers, “if they know they can then they must do so.

“In a sport like ours you have to push yourself to the finish line because no one will be with you in that race but only you and your car and having great focus is key for you to cross that line.

“Being a great racer needs great practice, determination and passion for the sport.”

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