This week’s feature article author, Brian Bonner is a hero of mine. Why? Because he retired from behind the steering wheel when he could still drive the wheels off a car. Even though he was a really good race driver, he felt there were better drivers than he (and he had the balls to admit that), and he was better at the commercial side of the sport.
Brian and I first met at Indy in 1992 when he was to drive for Dale Coyne Racing… and I was too, if I could put the budget together. I went home with no budget, while Brian went on to race the Indy 500. He got his best CART Indy car finish driving for A.J. Foyt (that’s a topic we’d all like to ask him about!).
I remember feeling jealous of Brian, for not only could he drive, he knew how to put real sponsorship programs together. And that’s what impresses me most about Brian – he knows how to craft marketing programs that provide value to everyone involved. Take a good look at his website to see examples of what he’s done.
It doesn’t matter if you rely entirely on sponsorship to support your racing, or you happily fund it all yourself; whether you race professionally or in club/amateur racing… what Brian has to say equally applies.
Brian has agreed to write a series of articles about sponsorship… err, what we should call motorsport marketing. This is the just the beginning of what you can learn from him.
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Sponsorship Secrets – Part 1
So, you’ve already noticed that I’ve called my first piece for Speed Secrets Weekly, Sponsorship Secrets, but that may be a little misleading because there are no real secrets to motorsports sponsorship (or any other kind for that matter). Obtaining sponsorship, in any form (cash, products as value-in-kind, products discounts, etc.), for your racing program requires nothing more than hard work, adherence to a few important principles and at some level, maybe a little luck. The real secret is knowing how to present your program to the right parties in the right way (and at the right time) to make it appealing to them.
The first installment of this series will cover sponsorship basics and then we’ll move on to the nuts and bolts of the sponsorship acquisition process and how to make your program as attractive as possible to potential sponsors in later installments. The tips and tactics I will outline here should be useful for any racing program, from grassroots to pro, the difference will just be in the details.
We all know very well that racing is expensive and as you climb the ladder from club racing to nationals, to the pro categories, it just gets exponentially more so. At BRM we like to say that racing is a sport that relies on funding as much as fuel. You already know how to get the fuel, over the next few installments of this series we’ll try to help you gain the knowledge and skills that can help you supplement your racing budget with some welcome sponsorship funding.
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To read the rest of Brian’s article, download Issue #14 from the Past Issues. And to read more like it, get a year’s worth of Speed Secrets Weekly – subscribe now.