Sponsorship Tips or Advice from Team Owners for Privateers looking let to go Pro

I am currently in Junior Rotax and am looking for advice on the best way to go about getting sponsored

I spent 3 months in Minimax before moving up to Junior Rotax
Due to the increasing costs of Karting sponsorship or driving for a team seems the best way

Any help is very much appreciated

Not sure on the specific landscape of other countries, but in the States, there are very few “pro” karting drivers. Many drivers you see as “team drivers” are paying to be in that tent.

Speaking as both a driver and a business owner, the main question is “why should someone sponsor you?” I get requests weekly from drivers looking for my sponsorship. I can tell you right now, if you have under X amount of social media followers/reach, I don’t even consider it. I don’t care how many races you win, that doesn’t translate into anything tangible for me. At least in my business. What does translate is how big your reach to the public/industry people is. I have a couple drivers I sponsor and the main reasons aren’t their performance, it’s their social media presence and their promotion of my stuff. If you have 50k followers on Instagram and tag me in a post, I see real-time results in my follows and post interactions. That empowers my brand and raises its perceived value.

We live in an age where results are secondary to marketing in many ways. There are hundreds or thousands of insanely talented drivers with no sponsorship backing just stuck in the lower ranks because outside of their results, they offer nothing tangible to partners. There are hundreds of less-talented drivers making it as professionals because they have great relationship building and marketing skills and have offered actual value to companies, allowing them to get corporate support.

So, what do you provide to a sponsor that would make them want to just give you money/things?

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What he said, it’s all about marketing. There are very very few that get through on ability alone.

This is the most important question, and what most are never thinking about. One local racer gets some sponsorship. He video’s every race he is in and some others are in. The then puts together a compilation video that through its enthusiasm promotes the track. After a while of putting out those videos and getting a following he got some sponsors that he thanks in every video now. But even those sponsors are fairly small.

I was mulling this as I was reading about a lady who is a sponsored sim racer. I’m not sure how that works, exactly. That being said, I only know of her because I have seen her on Facebook trying to draw eyeballs. Which is sort of the point. How how good at sim she is isn’t all that important if she is actively telling a story that is reaching people and in doing so, provides exposure and awareness.

If I were a team principal, I’d really want someone who is an evangelist for karting and naturally is into promotion. Might not be the fastest team, but our shenanigans would be public and well documented.

I’d imagine it would be pretty easy for someone like Jimmy Broadbent to make a compelling argument to a company to partner with him, given his success in telling a story that people want to listen to. Maybe also Matt? (Truracer) could have pulled off real sponsorship given how many people loved following his racing story.

My guess is you have to show how you can help build their brand. Winning is memorable but probably not enough.

Edit: the Stahls down NewCastle way seem to all have matching karts now. Their YouTube series looks like they are getting views and maybe they worked out something with a manufacturer?

It’s not going to happen in karting. There simply isn’t an “audience”. If you are one of the best ever, and a team wants someone to win something big on their chassis you may get a free ride for that, but you better have some national championships at the highest levels before applying.

Same goes for engines. If you are a known ringer, an engine builder may work something out with you.

As far as being a Pro in karting. It doesn’t exist. There are no drivers making their livings from karting. Karting is for fun and that should be where it begins and ends. Took me the longest time to come to terms with that.

So I can’t speak directly on karting. But I’ll tell you from someone that has been/is sponsored by some of the biggest companies in Motorsport for my race car these guys nailed it. Companies are looking for a ROI or return on investment.

Your social media will become a job. I had little time to do anything besides work, race car prep, and social media.

Next, you don’t have to be the fastest as they said. And it can honestly come down to who you know. I got in with a huge company. Then because they sponsored me it opened doors with other large companies. Then when I applied to smaller companies they saw the large companies and jumped on board.

So find a way to be different. Stand out from the crowd and build a formal sponsorship proposal. Several marketing companies can help with this. Or if you’re good with adobe products you can develop your own.

Jim, I have to disagree there is a market in karting and people certainly make there living in karting just not as drivers alone. The ones that do it best are usually good at more then just driving and that could be marketing, business or even great innovators.

Lots of people make their living in karting. The question was about being a sponsored professional kart driver.

The person I knew that had a big sponsorship in late model racing did a lot work to get it. First he was lucky to have a contact. Then he put together a many page proposal. It included how many people were at the races he did. This could include fellow racers. Then how many times a night his car is typically announced on the PA system. This typically requires fans to be present. Then he also documented how many hours a week his trailer, that would have sponsor information on it, would be on the road and how many people would see the rolling billboard. The product sponsor was a grocery item. So he also agreed to do opening at multiple grocery stores a year. This required him having a spare car in presentable shape. He also agreed to work several events like boyscout camps. Finally he showed how they got more exposure per dollar with him than they would on a billboard or elsewhere. All that resulted in him getting a lot of money to reduce his out of pocket cost of racing.

How does one gain a lot of followers as a kart driver? what do the 50k accounts do differently?

Like Broadbent or Truracer? Or like Norberg?

Broadbent is YT famous. Truracer is YT famous. Norberg doesnt have a lot of followers. Does and kart IG have a lot of followers?

Ah sorry. You mean like facebook and stuff. I dont know anything about that. I did sub to the karting FB but I’m sorta over FB.

@DavinRS Davin Sturdivant has been active in promoting his and other brands on FB. He might have insight.

I’m not sure what you’re really looking for though. Can you go a little deeper about what you’re looking for?

I mean, karting is sport really for the competitors, rather than for audience members or fans.

Largely, I use my social media as a networking tool, and use my professional and business skills for sponsorship.

Post things interesting to the masses, things that offer benefit or knowledge to others, and make social your full-time job. I’ve heard from some very successful social media influencers, that it has to be your 9-5 basically, and you need to combine things like YouTube, Instagram, and Twitter content to really keep things interesting and fresh.

Hard to make karting interesting to the masses. Broadbent and SuperGT have done a good job. I think I’ll stick to getting better for now.

The kind of karting that appeals to the masses is the backyard type of stuff like Cowboys TV and Cars and Cameras. Which honestly I love, but a lot of “racers” turn their noses up at it.

Consider sponsorship a part time, or even full
tome job. For sure you’ll want to figure out ways to connect businesses with customers or deliver value in some way. That can be in the digital realm, IRL or both.

Playing the exposure game is a good way to build a base to expand from. That is to say, if you are well known and strategic about it you can try to bolt on other revenue streams… coaching for example.

Most sponsorship in karting is in the form of goodwill, contra deals etc. So network, be a connector and think of how you can help others, vs asking for something.

I think I could probably count the number of true professional drivers in karting with my two hands.

If you’d like some reading:

Checkout the #sponsorship tag on the forums

Read the articles on our older site: https://www.kartpulse.com/articles/index/116/sponsorship-and-marketing

Checkout episode 16 of the kartpulse podcast: https://www.spreaker.com/user/kartpulse/ep-16-what-do-you-mean-i-have-to-bring-v?utm_medium=widget&utm_source=user%3A10894994&utm_term=episode_title

Lookup “Race Mentor” and join the race mentor group on Facebook. Jess has written a guide specifically for kart racers as well.

I say this jokingly but I’d like to work out sponsorship with these guys for my endurance kart team. It’s too perfect…
I’d love this logo on our suits. Maybe also get Geritol on board.

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Dom, perhaps there are associate sponsor opportunities around for endurance racing as well? :grin:
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