Our 8 top tips for securing racing sponsorship

So, you want to become a regular competitor in motorsport or even have aspirations to live the dream of being a professional racer? Many drivers, just like you, have taken the successful path to regular racing and one of the keys to that adventurous and rewarding lifestyle was attracting and retaining sponsors along the way. Sponsorship can be a positive contributor to help fund the journey of any new driver hoping to be an elite motorsport competitor. When you are ‘sponsored’ and partly-funded, you can invest in the track time, car and support crew to improve your chances of success in a sport that’s become a global phenomenon over the last century. If you’ve got talent, discipline and determination, sponsorship can make it easier for you to enjoy the camaraderie of the pit garages, lining up on the grid and hopefully the thrill of being on the podium.

In this article, we explore some of the best tips for securing racing sponsorship and get the advice of a couple of Aussie racing legends.

how to find sponsorship for car racing in australia

“Always be conscious of offering them more than you’re getting” – 1992 NASCAR Australia champion, George Elliot.


1.  Talk to friends and family

This is a simple technique but is easy to forget. According to motorsport legend John Bowe, “it’s best to target people who know you and would like to help you”. Everyone knows someone who knows someone who owns a business. Chat to the people close to you and see if you can make some connections to businesses through your existing close contacts.

And remember, you should have a decent formal proposal for any potential sponsor. Know what you’re offering them. Is it their logo on your car? Is it social media promotion? Include this in your proposal. If they can see a genuine benefit, they’re far more likely to sign up. From here, Bowe believes “building good communicative relationships is the way to go”. You want to provide benefits and get to know new sponsors.


2. Research potential racing sponsors

There are potential sponsors everywhere. If you are starting out, your best bet will be small local businesses, particularly those with owners who are motorsport fans. You should always remember small businesses want their name out there too, and sponsorship can help them just as much as it can help you. As George Elliot explains, you need to “have a good understanding of their goals as a business. Keep a lookout for businesses you think could benefit specifically from sponsoring racing. There are plenty of car dealerships and mechanics around, but you needn’t be limited just to them”.

You can also browse online. A number of companies advertise the fact they are looking to promote local drivers.

finding racing sponsorship


3. Focus on businesses that match your brand

Additionally, learn as much as you can about potential sponsors. Finding sponsorship can be very time-consuming, so you will benefit from finding businesses who match your brand, because they are ultimately more likely to sponsor you.

Some businesses will know nothing about motorsport, some will know a whole lot. Either way, you need to understand something about them. What product or service do they provide? What type of person uses their business? Is there a connection you can draw between your race and their customers? If so, pitch that to the business.

So work out what your brand is, then start talking to people. Research businesses as thoroughly as you can. Find out their values, what their marketing strategy is, and who their customers are. This way, you can send personalised emails, or even go into businesses and talk to owners about their business. Display the research you’ve done. Explain why you would be such a good match. You might talk to a business that sells extreme sports equipment. Tell them your fans are similarly drawn to the thrill-seeking of racing. Build that connection.

With that connection built it will be easier to negotiate if they do decide to sign on. Put together a proposal detailing how much money you are asking for. But make the focus of your proposal all the benefits they will get from you.

An extra tip here is to remember not all sponsorship has to be directly monetary. Sometimes you can get large discounts on vehicle ‘consumables’ such as oils, tyres, brakes, etc, which can be hugely beneficial in keeping your maintenance and racing costs down.


4. Think like a business person, not a racer

As a satirical version of Bill Gates once said in The Simpsons: “I didn’t get rich by writing a lot of cheques”. This is to say, businesses buy value, they don’t just give you money.

Business transactions work on the basis of mutual benefit. You might have found a potential sponsor and have a number in mind. This can be both nerve-wracking and exciting, but you always have to remember that this transaction is not only about you. You must make it worth their while. You need to clearly define and show how they will benefit from sponsoring you. Bowe suggests you should “try and actually be involved in sharing the racing experience with the sponsors”.

Furthermore, Bowe notes that “sponsorship is way more than just putting a sticker on a racecar and hoping someone notices”. So, you have to show them your value. Don’t tell a sponsor you’ll put their logo on your car or helmet. Tell them how many people will see it. Tell them the kinds of people who buy their product are also into racing, and many of them will be at your race.

Additionally, you should be prepared to offer a starter pack at a good fee. This could mean providing sponsors with good marketing assets like action images and videos that show their brand.

finding racing sponsorship


5. Use social media to promote your sponsors

Most of us are reasonably savvy with social media these days. At least, it isn’t difficult to post a status on Facebook. So you can achieve a lot with minimal time spent.

Motorsport is big on social media these days, so there is great potential to advertise there. Even better, motorsport is not necessarily highly promoted on mainstream media channels, so the followers you have on social media tend to be very dedicated.

Once you have a sponsor, promote yourself. Let your friends and fans know you have partnered with the sponsor. Share their posts and promote their product. This means they will have to do less work, which they will appreciate.

Be sure to stay active on social media. It’s easy to think you might be overdoing it, but people like updates and engagement.


6. Keep your sponsors happy

Ultimately you want to keep the sponsors you sign up. This can mean maintaining your relationship by keeping in consistent contact with your sponsors, by regularly promoting them, and of course by providing them results.

You will be increasingly appealing to ongoing sponsors if your career is trending well. Obviously this is aided by winning races, but it can also include having a dedicated following. You can strengthen your fanbase with engagement. After all, you should always be looking to grow your own brand. And of course, the stronger your fanbase, and the more connected they feel, the more they’ll trust you when you promote your sponsors.


securing a racing sponsor


7. Personal relationships are the key to longevity

Look for sponsors who have a passion for motorsport. Remember, people are more supportive of things they like. If your sponsor likes motorsport they will likely want you to succeed and keep you around longer.

You should also be creative with the benefits you provide your sponsor. People who love motorsport also tend to love driving fast cars around. Take your sponsors for a spin, or even let them drive your car. Nothing quite matches the bonding of zooming around a track with someone!

Finally, you don’t want to simply have one contact with the business. Elliot points out you need to “maintain relationships with senior management”. Bring everyone along to the track. They’ll probably tell each other how cool you are on the way home!

But you should always remember there are no guarantees. Elliot noted that he had a great relationship with one of his sponsors before the CEO stepped down. The new CEO preferred sailing to racing. This is not to scare you off, but simply to note sponsorship is an inexact science. Stay patient and look for success.


8. Success on the track

When you are highly competitive or even manage to win races, sponsors are likely to look more kindly on you. This isn’t the be all and end all, but it certainly helps. There is a natural tendency to associate success with a branding opportunity. Sponsor’s eyes will light up at the possibility of seeing their name pop up on the podium as you collect a trophy… so always remember the sponsor’s cap and get your photo taken for socials and publicity with your sponsor, or at least with their name clearly visible.


Experience the real thing

If you are reading this and have an interest in trying a racing car experience before committing to racing yourself, how about you try our Driving & Hot Laps Experiences? These are perfect for those not sure whether they want to pursue a career in racing, we’ll allow you to test the waters. It is also a great gift for anyone who wants to make the dream of being a racing car driver a reality… even if it’s for just one day. We look forward to seeing you on the track.

how to find a racing sponsorship
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