In this industry, you hear the word “passion” thrown around quite a bit. It’s passion that drives someone to success, it’s passion that makes someone do the things they do, it’s passion that keeps them coming back for more. It’s a tricky thing to define, especially considering how personal someone’s passion can be, but at the end of the day, it’s crystal clear when someone has it.
Jack Olsen has it. He’s a screenwriter in Los Angeles, and he doesn’t have any corporate sponsors, he doesn’t make infinite money, and he isn’t next in line to inherit a racing empire. What Jack Olsen has is a garage, a 1972 Porsche 911, and a whole lot of love for the track.
Olsen grew up racing karts with his brother. After spending a few decades outside the world of motorsport, he bought a Porsche as a fun weekend getaway car. But the moment he turned a wheel at Willow Springs International Raceway, the memories he made while racing as a kid poured back into his mind. The exhilaration, the adrenaline, the single-minded dedication of taking a car to the limit triumphantly relit his passion.
Now, Olsen spends each free moment clipping every tenth possible from his lap times. The process is evolutionary, both for the car and its driver. Over the course of 14 years, Olsen has improved, bit by bit, little by little, and the end result is, in a word, impressive.
The real joy, however, is not in meeting some pre-determined goal or checkpoint. The real joy is the process — making a tweak here, changing something else there, experimenting, finding what works, and going faster. Yeah, you could drop tens of thousands of dollars to instantly pick up a few seconds, but that’s a bit like cheating, don’t you think? True satisfaction is gained slowly, and if you really love something, that’s what matters most.
Olsen has a real passion for racing, and if you need a quick reminder what that looks like, then here it is. In Olsen’s own words: “When you’re on a racetrack, you can only think about one thing. You are completely lost in a simple task that you repeat every minute and 26 seconds. There is such a relief to surrendering yourself to such a specific task.”