BimmerWorld: Getting to Know Nick Esayian With unique cars and a rich driving lineup, we sat down with Nick Esayian to learn more about BimmerWorld's newest pilot. BimmerWorld BMW SCCA World Challenge driver Nick Esayian is known in...
BimmerWorld: Getting to Know Nick Esayian With unique cars and a rich driving lineup, we sat down with Nick Esayian to learn more about BimmerWorld's newest pilot.
BimmerWorld BMW SCCA World Challenge driver Nick Esayian is known in the racing world as a lighthearted character, but behind the quick wit and biting sarcasm stands a self-made businessman whose interests and skills are as varied as any in the World Challenge paddock.
New to the BimmerWorld fold in 2008, Esayian quickly adapted to the team's BMW E90's after years of piloting Japanese machinery. In just a few quick months, he's become a valued member of the BimmerWorld family both on and off the track.
For Nick, the path that's led him to BimmerWorld is unique in many ways, but like many that choose a life in auto racing, Esayian's interest in automobiles was sparked by his father. "I was a big car fan when I young boy--my father had the coolest Pontiac Bonneville, and I owned literally hundreds of Hot Wheels. As I got older, dirt bikes were the rage and motorcycles became my passion. My parents did their best to thwart that addiction, but I was hooked. A crazy uncle of mine pushed me over the edge when he bought me a subscription to Car and Driver Magazine when I was fifteen. The first issue I received was the Corvette vs. DeLorean vs. Datsun 280ZX Turbo comparison test they did, and from then on, it was all over; I was a dedicated car fan and saved every issues for years."
It was while attending college in Wisconsin, home state of the RealTime Touring Car team, that Esayian got his first taste of competition. "I'd never even attended a car race until 1992 when I went to an SCCA National, and as it turned out, (RealTime owner) Peter Cunningham asked to use my street car as a pace car. The next weekend I got my novice permit..."
As Esayian's interest in racing was in its infancy, he also started to grow his footprint in business development and ownership. "I worked really hard in school and used my BBA in Marketing and later my MBA to build a career that would allow me to lend my marketing education and my desire to build companies to win off the track. I'm a competitive person--you can't survive in a racecar or in business today without a strong need to prove yourself."
The commonalities between the skills and drive needed to win in business and to win in racing are many, according to Esayian. "I'm not sure if I'm a success or not, but at least my personal definition of "success" is someone that likes what they do, surrounds themselves with great people; never quits, and constantly tries to evaluate and improve themselves. When you apply those tactics to business or racing you tend to do relatively well. It also doesn't hurt if you can add in some talent and smarts to the equation!"
As Nick's matured as a racer, his motivations to drive SPEED World Challenge racing cars have also matured. "If you'd asked me this question fifteen years ago the answer would have been simply to build a career in racing. Now, at forty years old, and as a business owner and father, I have different motivations. World Challenge is the most competitive road racing series in America. Period. Look at the list of drivers...Peter Cunningham, Pierre Kleinubing, Randy Pobst, Chip Herr, Andy Pilgrim, Boris Said, Michael Galati; the list goes on and on.
"When I race with these guys I want them to look at me as a professional racer first, and a business guy second, and I think I've accomplished that. Prior to getting started in World Challenge I probably had won thirty or forty races in various forms of club racing and other forms of pro racing, but getting it done here is even more challenging. Winning, and not just being competitive against the best, is a true accomplishment that few can attain. That is what drives and motivates me."
Esayian's passions for racing are continually fueled by his goal to join the list of driver's he's highlighted in the winner's circle, albeit on the top step of the podium. "I haven't gotten atop the podium yet in World Challenge but the fight is on; I'm in the game, and I am confident BimmerWorld is giving me the weapon to get the job done in the four remaining races in 2008. It's on me at this point." In the Esayian household, the positive and negative lessons that can be learned at the race track are important to share with his children. "From a standpoint as a father I want my two wonderful boys (Jake, 5, and Troy, 2) to learn that goals are attainable and they should never give up on achieving what they set out to do. That's what the average racer uses to further his career, and that's what is needed everywhere else in life. Look at guys like (Mazda Motorsports Director) Robert Davis, my partners Seth Thomas and James Clay at BimmerWorld, my old RealTime partner Brandon Davis, and a dozen other people in the industry. They've all taken the time to meet and know my kids. They've all taken time to enrich their lives. I think Brandon has actually spent more time with my kids than some members of my immediate family! Drinking, womanizing, and bad behavior aside, I'm happy to have my two sons around such great guys that they can learn both the good and the bad from."
While many racing drivers are known only for their talents behind the wheel of a car, Esayian wears his fierce political views on his sleeve. His marriage of racing and a vocal membership to the Republican Party gives Esayian a unique opportunity to engage fans and drivers in conversations on all matters of the world.
"You're hitting a nerve baby! My politics are my life. When I travel across this nation I see greatness. This isn't a perfect place but when people try and dilute the principles in which the country was founded on, I have a real issue. It bothers me that you have people always bad mouthing their own country or blaming America for the world's ills. This country is about being bigger, better, stronger, and faster. Once we lose that desire to be #1 in everything, we will have lost our position as the beacon for other countries to aspire to.
"In 223 years, look at what we have accomplished as a country: the infrastructure, commerce, innovation, the tens of millions of people we have liberated and saved from tyranny...it's hard NOT to talk to people about politics and what makes this country great..."
Esayian's taken his experience in business, marketing and racing to the next level in 2008 by joining a new organization--WC Vision, LLC, to help guide and steer the healthy promotion and growth of the World Challenge series. "For years everyone was complaining that the series didn't have a high enough profile, and they were right. The SCCA did a good job with running the races and administration but the marketing and promotion of the series needed to move from a club mentality to a corporate mentality, so that's where six WC Vision guys--all drivers or owners in the series stopped complaining and took our time and money and put it out there to create WC Vision to make the needed changes happen.
"We have guys that know the series but also have the resources, experience, motivation and contacts to make things happen. I'm just a mouthpiece for 'WCV' but the other five are all brilliant guys with the energy to accomplish a lot in the next eighteen months or so. This series will be going places. Esayian rarely lacks in confidence, and that's evident when he talks about the racing series he's committed to. "World Challenge is a spectacle... The starts alone are worthy of attention... We have an awesome product and need to get the word out and basically build demand. Everyone knows we put on the best show, have the coolest cars, and the best drivers. A boost in our series isn't going to happen overnight, but when you put a bunch of smart guys into a room and say 'solve this problem or we all fail,' good things will come from it. There are other great series out there and they're kicking our behinds in terms of marketing; the NFL, Supercross, NASCAR, professional wrestling, mixed martial arts, have all figured it out, and we can as well."