The opportunities of motorsport sponsorship

Motorsport comes in many shapes and sizes. From grass racing to Formula 1, it is the most visible form of any sport, with many opportunities for companies to increase their brand awareness, by taking up the offer of motorsport sponsorship

Ford dealership owner Bob Tasca coined the phrase ‘win on Sunday, sell on Monday’, in the 1950s. This still stands today, only it has moved beyond the cars and encompasses the sponsors themselves. Across all forms of racing, motorsport sponsorship gives multiple opportunities. 

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It is not just the winning cars, but the exposure that it offers that appeals to companies. For them, their logo being featured can lead to increased sales, just from buyers recognising the brand.

Motorsport sponsorship opportunities

The biggest benefit of motorsport sponsorship over other sports is the availability of space. Every car, bike or truck on track is, in effect, a mobile billboard. In addition, there are plenty of opportunities around the circuits to display company logos. 

This gives a brand exposure, not just to the thousands of fans who attend events, but the millions around the world who watch the action unfold on TV, or social media. It also offers companies the chance to offer hospitality packages to their customers. For the aftermarket, this means increased numbers of competitions where VIP tickets to events are given as prizes.

But the biggest draw is the brand awareness. This is not just key amongst the public, but garages as well. Products and services attached to motorsport give a bigger sense of quality and ability.

“Motorsport sponsorship is very important for brand awareness in the aftermarket, because with motorsport, there’s so much colour and so much enthusiasm that it becomes infectious,” comments Keith Anderson, Motorsport Sponsorship Coordinator at Laser Tools. “For a tool company, people. want to use the tools that the professional motorsport mechanics are using.”

Mark Blinston, Commercial Director at BM Catalysts, agrees. “Motorsport sponsorship is opportunity for enhancing the brand amongst a massive audience of viewers, both on TV and also in person at the events themselves,” he comments. “We know that there is a huge amount of people who watch that are mechanics, either current, or future.”

However, motorsport sponsorship is more than just a logo on a vehicle, but about using the opportunity to build on brand awareness and forge the link between company and customer.

“It is not just about the name on the car, it is about what we do with that association and highlighting it to the motorsport fans that we are supporting their hobby, their passion,” adds Henry Bisson, Marketing Director at Ring Automotive. “And therefore, when they go into shops or factors, or for mechanics using our products, there is that recognition there, and we get that from sponsoring.”

Driver backing

There are more ways to sponsor in motorsport than just the car, however. Backing a driver means following their career up the ranks, giving a chance to a younger generation and creating an ambassador for the brand.

“As a brand, we have grown with the BTCC, really, and we got involved with Dan Rowbottom and the TOCA package back in 2017,” comments Will Jones, Sales Director at Cataclean. “We enjoyed our time in the Clio Cup and then we started to look for the commercial opportunities across the paddock and took the baby steps to get into the full BTCC programme with Dan in 2019.

“Dan really works hard for being the Cataclean brand ambassador. There’s nothing he won’t do for us, he is very personable as well, and that’s part of a driver’s job these days.”

Laser Tools also has a number of drivers under its wing. We sponsor drivers as opposed to teams sometimes,” adds Anderson. “We are in the BTCC with Jake Hill, and the Mini Challenge as well with Nelson King. In addition, Chloe Grant has been with us for a number of years now, and we backed her last year in the F1 Academy. 

“We like to nurture young talent, and that is something we do at Laser Tools as well. We offer apprenticeships and we offer graduate schemes, and if we see talent, then we like to be involved with and support people in their careers.”

Motorsport is always there

The benefit of motorsport sponsorship today is that it not only appeals to a new generation, but the classic series are still remembered by slightly older fans. Many today would remember the colours of the classic Lotus cars in Formula 1, or the manufacturer branding made prominent in the BTCC during the 80s and 90s. 

This link is made even stronger by the use of social media, with classic racing clips available to millions of people around the world. But nostalgia also brings companies into the fold.

For me, I used to come and watch John Cleland and Steve Sper and the likes of them racing,” says Oliver Haywood, Head of Sales & Marketing at Elcome. “So, to actually associate our business with something that is probably the second most watched motorsport from Formula 1 is a great opportunity for Elcome.”

No matter what the category, motorsport sponsorship offers opportunities. From brand recognition to customer requests, the adage is there, if slightly tweaked. Perform on Sunday, sell on Monday.

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