Fans of “The Fast and the Furious” films are well aware of the concept of drifting, a driving technique where the driver intentionally oversteers, causing a loss of traction in the rear wheels while driving. Johan Schwartz, ’93, is a bit familiar with it, as well.
In 2013, Schwartz, a BMW Performance Center driving instructor, shattered the world record in drifting, completing 322.5 laps for 51.278 miles, besting the previous record of 6.95 miles and earning a spot in the Guinness Book of World Records.
But when Schwartz isn’t in a car breaking records, he’s all business.
Born and raised in Denmark, he began his racing career as a child on the family farm. He has raced in Sports Car Club of America, Grand Am and the World Challenge support series for Indy Car.
In 2001, he turned that life-long passion for racing into a full-time career when he started Endurance Karting, a company that attracts racing enthusiasts from all over the country to its kart racing school and tracks.
“It’s an arrive-and-drive karting business,” he said. “We basically have everything you need: the karts, helmets, suits, everything. All you have to do is show up. We do all kinds of events. Last year, we did an event for Microsoft where we set up a huge track inside the Georgia Dome.”
The entrepreneurial spirit that launched Endurance Karting has been with him since his days at Flagler. He said he chose the college partly because it was so close to the racing mecca of Daytona Beach.
“I started a business while I was at Flagler that provided race teams with an onboard stopwatch,” he said. “It helped to add more uniformity to qualifying times because it was this system that was triggered by an infrared beam instead of a human with a stopwatch. So basically, school would get out, I’d head out to Daytona and install systems. I remember sitting in class and listening to kids talk about what they did over break and here I am saying, ‘Oh, I installed a system for Dale Earnhardt.’”
Schwartz has also been a driving instructor at the BMW Performance Center since 2011.
“I continued racing after I graduated all over the country,” he said. “One of the people I met in my travels was the lead instructor of the BMW center. He invited me to come and do some training and I’ve been working there (ever since.)”