Epitome of Excellence

Lessons from the Legends of Motorsport

Of Mechanical Mustangs

In the book Meta-Luxury: Brands and the Culture of Excellence, the authors interviewed Horacio Pagani, the Argentine creator of inspirational auto art in the form of Pagani supercars – the mythical Zonda and the Huayra. Based out of Modena, Italy, Pagani is truly legendary. It’s cars are part beauty and part beast.

Horacio quotes fellow Argentinian and writer Jose Ingenieros from his book , El Hombre Mediocre (The Mediocre Man) written in 1913:

“When you point your visionary bow towards a star and spread your wings to reach an unreachable height, thirsty for perfection and rebellious against mediocrity, you have within the mysterious spring of an ideal”

Motorsports is a rapidly evolving and fascinating sport. Variations of this sport include drone racing, Formula E (electric car racing) and Formula A1GP founded by Sheikh Maktoum Hasher Maktoum Al Maktoum of Dubai.

The triple crown of motorsport is winning the Formula One Monaco Grand Prix, the Indianapolis 500 and the 24 hour Le Mans in France. The Le Mans is the oldest endurance racing sports car race held annually since 1923 in Le Mans, France.

For two weeks in May this year, Formula One driver Fernando Alonso will compete in the Indy 500 for Andretti Autosport. He skipped the Monaco Grand Prix to be part of Indy 500. Alonso is credited with having ended Michael Schumacher’s reign as world champion in Formula One.

There are many icons in Motorsport. From Danica Patrick (Indy 500) who inspires millions of women to race to Juan Manuel Fangio – arguably the greatest Argentine racer. My Personal favorite, recently, has been Narayan Karthikeyan. But, more importantly, Gul Panag – the first Indian woman to lead a Formula E car for Mahindra Racing. One cannot forget Craig Breedlove who was a five time world land speed record holder for driving the Spirit of America – a supersonic car.

However, the icon that has inspired me the most is Ayrton Senna. Ayrton epitomizes love for Formula One. He hated being second if only to his team mate. Senna won three world championships before dying in a car accident at the young age of 34. For many, he was reckless and risky. For Senna, winning was all that mattered.

Pursuit of Automotive Excellence

My list of best race tracks in the world are in Monaco, Abu Dhabi and Singapore. Night racing in Abu Dhabi and Malaysia are an impressive spectacle.

Nurburgring is a racing circuit in Germany. Jackie Stewart, nicknamed “the flying Scott” nicknamed it “the Green Hell” because of its hairpin chicanes. According to Car and Driver, Nürburgring Nordschleife “record-chasing runs are a universally accepted, objective measure of a car’s performance, and shaving seconds gives automakers reasons to grab some headlines.”

Supercars including production and non-road vehicles compete at Nordschleife every year to claim the record for being the fastest car.

The lineup includes Pagani Automobili, Koenigsegg Motors, McLaren, Hennessey Venom. Quite an impressive array of engineering artists vying for world domination. In the past, the iconic Thrust SSC competed with the Spirit of America in a battle of supersonic cars.

The Bottom Line

Aiming for domination in anything you love is a pursuit worth dying for. Make no mistake, it’s not a pursuit of perfection but a pursuit of excellence.

In the words of Senna:

“I think that my love for running is the greatest motivation that any pilot has to run. You can’t fight against that. It’s impossible”

The closest parallel to Senna in the business world that I can think of is Steve Jobs. Ask yourself this – “How can I create an aura that spans the globe and leave a legacy that inspires generations?”

Are these lofty ideals and buzzwords to many? Certainly, but it is only the idiots of the past & unreasonable men that end up changing the world. I have never been uncomfortable with being called an idiot. I try anyway. So, should you. You might be kicked in the teeth for trying to change things but try anyway. Somewhere along the way, you will discover that your pursuit has led you to become an epitome of excellence.

Personal Lessons

Senna left a deep impression on me as a young boy. His legacy continues to inspire me to keep striving for excellence. Granted, I have not even begun.

Personally, I am a simple story teller hoping to isnpire my audience to maniacally follow their best selves. Some stories are personal, others are observed and yet others are learnt. No matter the source of the story, if I inspire a single individual to pursue excellence, I would have succeeded.

For me, my father is the greatest story teller in the world. He inspired me to dream big and read a lot. My mother, on the other hand, kept me grounded and practical. She completed the other half by encouraging follow through on those dreams no matter how outrageous they sounded. So, I am still trying to inspire people failing miserably at times but I try anyway.

Leaving a legacy, even if it means leaving a healthier planet for the next generation or an inspiring a dremer are worthy causes to pursue. To your pursuit of excellence, I say Carpe Diem and Godspeed.

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