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How do I get sponsorship?

The reality is that the vast majority of club level competitors do not have sponsorship. Their racing is funded usually by themselves, or sometimes by a relative who want to support them.

Normally, sponsors want to achieve business benefit from their investment. Thisis typicallyderived from the development of important business relationships in the context of a highly exciting sporting situation- for example by inviting their clients and prospects to join them at your race meetings, often with some level of hospitality provided, and from brand awareness through advertising on your race car and associating their brand with your motorsport activities.

The higher up the level of racing you do, the more attractive it becomes to potential sponsors, but also of course the more expensive it potentially becomes for you. At the top level in UK motorsport (BTCC in saloon cars, British F3 in single seaters, and British GT's in sports cars), there are drivers who make a living from either being paid to drive, or from gaining more sponsorship income than their expenditure, or a combination of both.

The further down the echelons you go, the less sponsorship is generally available. Many so called 'sponsors' are either Dad's/Mother-in-Law's/Uncle's/Uncle's mate'sfirm or supplier, or even the driver's own company!

Gaining sponsorship is not easy, and is a task that should not be under-estimated. The golden rule is that you must clearly articulate the business benefits and, if you've got a sponsor, you must help deliver those benefits. Sponsorship proposals that ask for money to help you go racing are doomed to failure, unless you're amazingly lucky. Why should a business give you their hard-earned money so that you can go and partake in your hobby?

One of the best methods of securing sponsorship is to start with people you know, who run businesses, and for whom it could make business sense. Whether or not they're interested, spread outwards from there, asking them to recommend and introduce you to other business owners or senior executives who they know. You'll probably have to work hard at it, and expect a lot of rejection on the way!

Other routes are to target local businesses via conventional market methods such as writing letters or ringing them. Make sure you've got a good business proposition - without that you're onto an immediateloser.

Some of the cynics amongst us would advise you not to bother unless you're competing in one of the top levels or in a recognised feeder class (eg Formula Renault or Formula Ford for single seaters) - the time and effort to get a sponsor and then to look after them properlycan outweigh the benefit, and might be better spent earning the money in other ways! However, if you've got ambitions to make a career in the dizzy heights of top profile motor racing, it's never too early to start building relationships with potential sponsors!

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