My work around financial literacy and the power of math in my life is not limited to my philanthropic passion and professional occupation, it is also present in my chosen sport. Motorsports.

While expressing my personal love of the track and car this weekend, I also experienced something called a ‘track incident’ in my race car. Something that could have easily turned out very differently.

But thanks in large part to the design and engineering promises made by race car manufacturer KTM, and their development partner Reiter Engineering – I literally drove right through the problem.

People not familiar with motorsports often see fast cars, and presume that it’s all about speed and going fast. It’s mostly not.

I call it ‘Buddhism at 150 MPH,’ and it’s all – I believe – made me a better leader. Precision and calmness under pressure.

A race car moving effectively on a race tracks, is about physics and math. And it’s about technology, engineering and intelligence, and race craft and (race) strategy. And while it’s not hard to ‘go fast,’ it’s hard to be a dumb, really great race car driver. I have taken a lot of time taking race training, trying to become a good, smart, calm, planted race car driver.

All of this came together on track this weekend, when while rounding a fast corner at Atlanta Motorsports Park (AMP) at 90+ MPH, pushing north of 1G (the side acceleration we feel due to the force of gravity), when a 200 lbs Georgia deer aimed itself for some reason at my front right corner — and made contact at full speed.

In motorsports, like in life, nothing is promised, which is why you always need to think, before you act. I did a lot of thinking about which dedicated race car I wanted to ‘partner’ with. To become one with. I selected an incredibly light, well designed race car advertised and promoted as one of the safest in motorsports — the KTM X-Bow GT4, designed by the highly respected Reiter Engineering. My on track incident suggests that the hype was right.

Earlier in the day I had a successful testing period, on a slightly damp track, so all was not lost for the day.

This is the essence of STEM – Science, Technology, Engineering and Math, all coming together in one package.

In the final analysis, I was actually happy that the 200+ lbs deer decided to run into me instead of another driver — if you can believe that. Because my car (as you can see from the video of the incident) was made absolutely solid, and had a hard cover over the driver area. But a number of my fellow track colleagues were driving open wheel, open cockpit race car — and had that same deer hit them, at that speed and under the same conditions, the outcome would not have been good.

Rainbows, after storms. Onward.

John Hope Bryant

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