When Xavier Maassen, SBE graduate (MA in International Business, 2006), first raced a kart at the age of 15, he thought it would just be for fun. “My father was quite involved in racing,” Xavier says. “But I waited a long time to try it. At 15, I was actually quite late getting started.”
It quickly became apparent that Xavier had a natural ability and the right mental focus to win. “I went out and immediately began to win races,” he recalls. “And after a short while, we decided that yes, this is something I’m pretty good at.”
Xavier soon moved on to racing cars, and has built a racing career for himself in Formula Ford, where he won the Belgium Championship twice and was Vice-Benelux Champion. He was also a front-row qualifier for the prestigious Formula Ford Festival.
“I knew I could drive, but a lot of other people could as well. But what it takes to win is commitment, focus—there were lots of other drivers who got distracted by girlfriends and other things. But I was really dedicated.”
You can easily draw a parallel between what it takes to succeed in business and in racing, he says. “In many ways, building a racing team is very entrepreneurial. From 16, I was going to businesses and people to ask them to sponsor me.”
Xavier continues to be very hands-on in managing his brand, forming relationships with sponsors, and keeping his team functioning. “My degree in business definitely is useful in my work in racing,” Xavier says. “Not only in the business relationships aspect, but also because so much about racing is quick thinking, instincts. I have that.”
This year, Xavier is focusing his ambition on a major dream: winning Le Mans. Held every year since 1923, Le Mans is the most prestigious endurance race in the world. “Every racer dreams about Le Mans—it is the most famous race there is. It is a very big goal and I am committed to it.”
Training, he says, involves more physical fitness than actual driving. “The driving part is limited to races and some testing, so the most important is to keep in shape,” he says. To stay fit and focused, Xavier does a lot of cardio training, mountain biking, and other forms of exercise.
But he’s also working hard on his mental focus, as a practice and now coach of Creative Consciousness. “I always knew there would be something else I would do, after racing,” Xavier says. “I took a course in Creative Consciousness—which basically guides you in personal growth, spiritual fulfillment, and worldly success —and I find it really thrilling to help people through the process to experience a higher way of living.”
“Racing is a wonderful experience, a great job to have,” Xavier says. “But I am always thinking there will be a second phase in my life, in which I help people. Sports success makes you someone people can look up to, because you’ve accomplished something. I’d like to use that to inspire people in the future, to follow their dreams as well.”