Rembrandt Charms president Eric Lux (pictured) remembers the first time he was bitten by the racing bug: He was 7, and his father bought him a go-kart.
“From about 7 to 14, I was pretty much living at the go-kart track,” he says.
It helped that racing ran in his family. His father—Chris Lux, founder and head of the Buffalo, N.Y.-based charm company—raced as an amateur. So did his mother. His father’s cousin Ron Lux raced on a pro level (and was killed in a track accident).
Racing became such an obsession for Eric that during high school he was homeschooled so he could focus on it. In 2003, at age 14, he was the youngest licensed racing driver in the United States. In 2005, he became one of the first 16-year-old drivers to compete and finish 24 Hours of Daytona.
Lux spent six years as a full-time professional racer during and after college. But eventually the family business beckoned.
“I had just accepted a pretty big NASCAR contract when I got a call—my father was ill,” Lux says. “I put everything on hold.”
Chris Lux was soon back as Rembrandt’s chairman and CEO. Eric stayed with the company and became its president in December. But he still runs about seven professional races a year. In February, he participated in Rolex 24 Hours at Daytona, where his team came in sixth. (In 2022, it was first.) In March, he’ll compete in another endurance race, 12 Hours of Sebring.
“I have been able to keep a foot in both worlds,” he says. It helps he’s occasionally able to merge the two.
“One of the things that I’ve always negotiated with the race teams is, in lieu of prize money, you have ‘Rembrandt Charms’ on the car,” he says. “We always invite our jewelers to the races, and we usually have 40 or 50 jewelers come and watch.”
Still, the sport requires quite a bit of training, including time at the gym, and regular practice on a racing simulator in his basement. While the simulator doesn’t come close to what it’s really like on the track, it helps Lux maintain the proper mindset.
“The main benefit is just developing the mental consistency, lap over lap, making good time, without making mistakes. A big part of racing is the mental focus you need every time you get in the car. The level of competition these days [means] everyone’s pushing to the limit every single lap, every corner. You have to be able to do that without making mistakes.”
Racing, he says, is really about “focus and being able to think ahead as far as strategy, where you are going to be on the track. That always evolves as the race goes on, as there’s issues with your car or other cars. Those that can piece it together fastest, in support of their engineers and the pit lane, usually have the best result.”
But that hyper-focus is what Lux enjoys.
“It’s one of the few things in life that allows you to shut off and disconnect from every other concern or thought in life,” he says. “It’s such a release to be able to park all your thoughts about business, or family, or whatever might be bothering you or consuming you, and focus on the task at hand and complete it. I find that really challenging and also refreshing.
“There’s a lot more lows in racing than there are highs, but every one of those highs makes it worth it,” he adds. “You can have a rough stretch, and the second you get back on the podium and win a race, nothing else matters.”
Which is why he hopes to never give up the sport completely. “I have been doing this 19 seasons and probably been with about 50 different teams and 50 different cars,” he says. “I don’t know how much longer I’ll be able to keep doing it, as I’m turning 35 next month. I happen to be fast enough that they keep calling me back. As long as I keep getting a call to come back, I’ll be there. I love it and would like to keep doing it as long as I can.”
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