Raising Funding and Gaining Sponsorship
Motorsport is a very expensive sport where talent is not always enough. The drivers who do make it to the top, are usually those from very wealthy families. Although the UK is the world leader in motor sports; which generates £9billion in revenue sales annually. It is shocking that none of this money is then reinvested back into the grassroots. We exists to change that – with a bottom up approach!
Our aim over the past 12 months has been to increase participation in grassroots karting. This is being achieved by innovating low cost solutions to make karting more affordable and accessible for talented young drivers. We also aim to make karting more inclusive by pioneering new strategies to encourage disabled and less abled bodied people to participate.
At X-Kart we are partnered with one of the North-West biggest and highest rated indoor go-karting centers (TeamKarting). We are in a unique position to witness talented young racers start their careers in motorsport and progress through the ranks. However, at a certain point their progress is halted not due to a lack of talent or ability but rather a lack of funds, sponsorship and financial backing.
EvenLewis Hamilton himself has spoken out about the rising cost of the sport, telling BBC Sport (https://www.bbc.co.uk/sport/formula1/44682870)
In the past I have benefited from gaining sponsorship to help fund my karting career. More recently I have also helped a number of drivers gain sponsorship.
Top tips for drivers to gain sponsorship
Build a Personal brand
Start simple set up a Facebook page to allow interested parties to follow your progress. Post pictures of your racing, do post-race write ups, offer competitions & give always. Build an engaged following! Thanks sponsors after every race, make them feel special and appreciated. Take part in charity events and other large social events, so people want to be associated with you. As you grow look to add in a website, logo, team wear etc etc. motorsport is all about branding.
Be prepared for a lot of rejection
90% of people / companies you approach either will have no interest in motorsport or don’t have the budget to sponsor you. But keep at it, look at local business you might have a connection with through family and friends commonly knows as your “Hot List”. Do some research and see if there is any large companies with high turnover based in your local area (ideally based in in the motorsport industry) target them. Or try and find business owners who have a passion for motorsport.
Be willing to invest a lot of time and effort
The best way to approach any company is put some effort into it, first send a bespoke email to key people in the company. DON’T just copy and paste the same email over and over again relate it to the company, as that’s boring to read and shows you didn’t put a lot of effort it. Refer to their products or services, use terms like “similar to your company we…”. Explain the benefits of sponsorship. Be clear about they would get in return. Don’t just ask for money. Offer simply things like – being a tyre or fuel supplier. Can they supply you with products to lower your costs or free events space to host events you generate a revenue from. Not all exchanges need to be money based.
Do something to grab attention
My personal favourite, send a letter in a gold envelope, why gold? Important people and key decision makers within large companies are very busy people who get lots of letters. Sending yours in a gold envelopes makes you stand out from the rest and people usually associate gold envelopes with winning something. Making them pay extra attention to your letter and excited to open it.
Don’t email someone busy on a Monday as it will get lost in the inbox, don’t be afraid of sending a follow up email “Hey , just touching base to see if you have had change to look at the email I sent you last week, it would be great if we could catch up at some point (attach the original email)”
Its all about you’re approach / proposal
Put together a branded document with lots of pictures and talk about you as a driver, what you’ve done so far, what your hoping to do achieve, any race statistics, are your races filmed if so what are the viewing figures etc etc. Try and tell a story in your proposal, what makes you as a driver unique, why should a company sponsor you instead of another driver. But some personality and individuality into this document you only get once chance to make as first impression.
What to offer to sponsors
When starting out in karting it is important to remember business will get little to no return on investment in sponsoring a young up an coming karter. Putting a logo on a race suit or tagging them on social media isn’t going to be good enough. What can you offer them which they don’t already have or how can you help? What value do you bring to the table.
Generate some of your own PR
Write race reports, blogs and articles about your racing or relevant current events, send them to news decks or online publications. Most are always in the need for content, if you’ve already written it an done the hard work some places might just post it as they want the content, attached pictures and tag our social media pages. Once its been shared put it onto your socials and website.
The X-Kart Academy
Its very difficult these days to gain sponsorship especially at grass roots level of motorsport, but there are a lot of people and companies out there who want to do good and help where possible. Its just about fining the right fit and making yourself appealing to be “sponsorship material”.
Recently we launched the X-Kart academy which aims to steer drivers in the right direction on and off track. Helping with Branding, Sponsorship, fitness/ nutrition, social media, Presentation and public speaking training. All done remotely with our brilliant team of experts, an online resource portal, 1 to 1 video calls and virtual group meeting / workshops.