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Vicar Known as The Racing Reverend Will Compete at Le Mans

When you think of a man of the cloth, whether it’s a priest, vicar, or any other type of spiritual leader, perhaps the last thing that goes through your head is their image in the driver’s seat of a race car. And why should it? It’s probably not an association that’s been made too often before.
The Racing Reverend Simon Butler, a vicar in the UK who will compete at Le Mans 6 photos
The Racing Reverend Simon Butler, a vicar in the UK who will compete at Le MansThe Racing Reverend Simon Butler, a vicar in the UK who will compete at Le MansThe Racing Reverend Simon Butler, a vicar in the UK who will compete at Le MansThe Racing Reverend Simon Butler, a vicar in the UK who will compete at Le MansThe Racing Reverend Simon Butler, a vicar in the UK who will compete at Le Mans
Simon Butler, aka The Racing Reverend, is here to challenge the perception that Anglican priests only sit around reading books and drinking tea in their spare time. As far as he knows, he’s the only man of the cloth to race on an international level: he will compete at the prestigious Le Mans with RLR MSport, he tells The Express.

Simon Butler is a 42-year-old father of three who also happens to be a vicar in 12 parishes in Hampshire in the UK. He is also a professional race car driver, and it comes as naturally to him as his vocation as a priest.

Speaking with the media outlet, Butler, who goes by The Racing Reverend online, says that he started racing when he was just a kid, at first in karts and then progressing to more powerful machines. At Le Mans, he will be driving the final laps in the iconic race in a 2022 Ligier LMP3, tagged with "John 3:16" ("For God loved the world so much that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him may not die but have eternal life"). His hope is to progress to the Le Mans 24 Hours next year, in the LMP2 class.

At the same time, the vicar hopes to shatter stereotypes, particularly about religious figures. A priest isn’t someone who drinks tea, eats cake and reads books all day; a priest is a man like any other, and this one happens to race cars in his spare time. This doesn’t make him any less of a competent driver, or any less of a priest.

“I find racing grounds and anchors my life as a vicar,” he says. “Having a foot in another world is important. It doesn't detract from my work, it nourishes it and makes my ministry better.”

If all goes to plan, Simon Butler will be taking a 3-month sabbatical next year, for the Le Mans 24 Hours. His parishioners will be cheering him along the way, as they always have. In the meantime, he’s keeping them updated with his progress on social media.



Editor's note: This article was not sponsored or supported by a third-party.

 
 
 
 
 

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