How to get paid to race
Advice from a race team boss.
I've always wanted to write a book and I suppose before now I already had. A guidebook to Norfolk that doesn't even have my name on... Hardly the stuff of dreams.
But then I started Racing Mentor and I created so much content helping racing drivers pick up sponsorship that it only seemed right to turn that into a book. That's how Get Paid to Race came about and I wanted to share some of that advice with you here.
This article isn't necessarily about becoming a paid factory driver. That's a discussion for another day. This is about how to find the funding you need through sponsorship. Of course, if you get somewhere and prove yourself, there's no reason that can't lead to a factory job.
But remember, so few people are actually paid by manufacturers or team to race cars. It's not impossible but to get anywhere, you need to bring in sponsors in some shape or form (or have rich parents...).
So you want to race
But also, welcome to the glorious money-pit that is modern-day motorsport.
While you'll undoubtedly have to spend some of you own money to get started, consider it an investment in yourself and your future career as a racing driver.
Sponsorship can either help elevate you to the ranks of your heroes or it can make an expensive hobby less expensive. Either way, the principles are the same.
You are a product
Before you start pitching to sponsors you need to start thinking differently. You are a product with features and benefits. This is what you're going to sell to sponsors.
Your features might include an audience of 10,000 on Twitter, a highly engaged subscriber base on YouTube, television reach to millions during a race weekend, or the ability to secure press coverage in glossy lifestyle magazines.
What you need to consider is why businesses should care about all this. Work this out and you have your list of benefits.
An audience of 10,000 people on Twitter could expose a business to 10,000 potential customers and beyond. All those YouTube subscribers are a new audience for a sponsors' video content. Television reach to millions can help any brand become a household name. And all that coverage in glossy magazines could help a business reach a new audience without them having to spend thousands per issue.
Build a rapport
Once you've done the hard work building your profile and audience, you now need to start targetting the businesses that could benefit from what you do.
Don't just jump straight in with your pitch. Make an effort to build a real relationship with business owners before you try to sell to them. This might be at networking events, online or in the paddock.
Don't just talk about yourself
When you pitch, start with how you can help the business then go into your background as a driver. Don't just launch into 14 paragraphs about yourself because the business owner will get bored pretty quickly.
Business owners are short on time so make sure you hook them straight away.
This subheading is worthy of an exclamation point.
Don't be afraid to chase a potential sponsor until they sign the contract or give you a firm no. Too many sponsorship emails go unanswered and this could be for so many different reasons. Emails get missed, they get lost along the way, go to the wrong person, or the receiver just doesn't see the value yet. Be persistent.
Build your brand around strong content so you can show potential sponsors exactly what you're capable of.
If you're interested in finding more about Get Paid to Race, visit www.racingmentor.com/thebook