‘Realisation of a dream’: Former Manchester student prepares for world-famous 24-hour Le Mans race

By Mark Shales

The dream of competing in the legendary Le Mans 24-hour race will be fulfilled this summer for one former Manchester student.

Matt Howson, 29, graduated from Manchester Metropolitan University with a psychology degree in 2012 and has spent the past two years racing Formula Three cars in Japan.

Formerly a teammate of Formula One star Lewis Hamilton, he admitted taking part in Le Mans would be the pinnacle of his racing career.

“It’s definitely going to be the realisation of a dream,” he told MM.

“Outside of Formula One I don’t think there’s a bigger race you can actually compete in than the 24-hour race.

“Physically and mentally it’s a big challenge for any human being. You’ve got to manage your sleep and your hydration and you’ve got to race at night.

“I think every driver at some point looks to endurance racing because it’s the highest level you can do outside of Formula One.”

Howson will form part of the first-ever Chinese team to race at Le Mans, KCG, and believes it will help to kick-start the country’s wider involvement in European motor racing.

Like many successful drivers he began go-karting for fun as a schoolboy, eventually choosing a racing career over following his father and grandfather into the RAF.

After competing in a number of different classifications, he took a self-imposed hiatus from racing to study for his degree – becoming a DJ in his spare time.

Despite returning to the track in 2011 to race in the Far East, the globe-trotting speedster admitted Manchester is the place to be.

“Outside of London there’s nowhere else I’ll ever live,” he added. “I like Manchester a lot.

“I settled in Didsbury and felt right at home – it’s got a lot of character. For the foreseeable future I’ll probably base myself in Manchester.”

Howson will partner former Super GT driver Alexandre Imperatori in KGC’s Morgan-Nissan LMP2 for the 24-hour race which takes place on June 22-23.

Image courtesy of David Merrit, via WikiCommons, with thanks

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