McRae Kimathi, 27

Rally driver

My Story

Whenever rally driver McRae is not thinking about motorsport, the hospitality sector which was his first love is always on his mind. Both stem from a tradition in the family.

He took up rallying by following in the footsteps of his father Phineas Kimathi and when he made his first serious venture in the sport by competing in the 2016 Nanyuki Rally in an outdated Subaru Impreza, it ended in a heart-breaking early retirement.

It was a frustrating journey until he hit the right chord last year. At 27, he has risen to become one of the promising youngsters who have taken motorsport by storm, and in only his second year of full competition since the Covid-19 pandemic.

He was named after Briton Collin McRae, the 1995 World Rally Championship winner who died in a helicopter crash in 2007.

Today, McRae works for San Valencia Hospitality, a family business that runs hotels and restaurants locally and offers corporate catering services.

The eldest son in a family of three children, McRae was one of the young promising rally drivers from Africa nominated for the FIA Rally Star Programme.

On October 23, McRae and his navigator Mwangi Kioni competed in the season-ending Rally of Zambia in a Ford Fiesta car and won the Africa Rally 3 title, a subsidiary category of the African Rally Championship.

This year, he became the second indigenous black Kenyan driver after the legendary Patrick Njiru, and in overall the eighth Kenyan to compete in the World Rally Championship after Shekhar Mehta, Joginder Singh, Vic Preston Junior, Mike Kirkland, Ian Duncan, Peter Horsey, and Karan Patel who have done so in the last 55 years.

Besides rallying, he loves GP-karting, paintballing, singing, playing the guitar, gaming, bowling and camping.

Rallying requires physical fitness and to achieve this, he goes to the gym in the mornings before going to work.

He plans to pursue a career in finance and accounting after retiring from rallying.

Peter Njenga