Spreading the word on racing on a really tight budget. Sharing knowledge found the hard way.
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The sad fact is that if no one has offered sponsorship already you probably wont get any.
Money is tight, and no business is going to hand out cash to an unknown wanabe racer, the only way they will give you something is if you can show a clear business case where they end up gaining more than they give out.

The good news is that you stand more chance getting parts at reduced price, although free is a word most businesses won't understand. If you can show that by giving you parts at cost they will loose nothing and gain publicity then you are in a good position.
The trouble is that the chances are there have already been a thousand other hopefuls spinning the same story before you.

So any publicity has to be the sort that will clearly and reliably bring new trade into the business. It's all very well you having a popular blog page but if no potential customers read it then it is worthless to your target sponsor.

You can walk round local businesses, like the chip shop and car parts store, but all you will get is exercise. These businesses are small and run on a very tight budget, so they would be risking a lot, relatively, by giving you anything. Racers with a good long track record of wins are the only ones who stand a chance, they are the lowest risk racers for a business to get involved with.
Bigger companies have higher revenues and so can risk a bit more. But again you need a solid business case. Companies that supply race parts are inundated by sponsorship requests, and often set out a yearly budget to sponsor the very best offers, usually championship winners in a race series that gets good media coverage relevant to the companies products. You have to get in early, by the time the race season is ending for the year most of next years budget will already have been spent, if you turn up in January the pot will be empty no matter how good your business case.
If this is your first season racing then you absolutely have to plan for having no sponsorship, treat any that you do get as a bonus. This is reality, it's harsh, deal with it.

So what can a novice get then? Well, once you register for a recognised championship and have your race number you can apply to Demon Tweeks to join their Pole Position Club, this gives you a 10% discount as long as you have their stickers on your race car. Additionally if clear pictures of your car with their stickers appear in one of the magazines on their list then you get a voucher.

If you can show you will get some media coverage, on well attended blogs, Twitter, Facebook pages or motoring related web sites that have a high traffic, then you approach multi-national companies to get either discounts or freebees. Companies such as Goodrich, Castrol, Millers Oil, Toyo, were very helpful to me in the past.

Its also worth asking round before deciding on a race series, some are already well supported and offer heavily discounted tyres as part of the championship deal.
Then latch on to a local garage and see if you can order parts on their trade account, often a reasonably busy garage will get up to 40% off standard parts, if you are clever and persuasive then they can charge you 10% and you still save 30%, everyone's a winner.

Then it comes down to begging, family and friends mostly, but also start a web site or blog to tell your story as you go and ask for donations, there is no point being shy. Twitter and Facebook pages can also help, but what ever media you use you must remember to constantly feed it to keep it alive.

Taking a long term view can help, if you want to run in an expensive series with an expensive car but can't afford it then you are best off choosing a cheap series with cheap cars instead. It might not be what you want to do but you will gain several key things that will help you eventually get to where you want to be.

The first thing is it is possible, there is no point working towards something that won't happen. Next you will get vital race experience, I can't tell you how important this is, and it really doesn't matter what car you're in, experience is more important than any tuning modification in the world. The fact that the series is cheaper means you can do more races too, plus track days.

As it is easier to do well in a lightly contested series you stand a better chance of getting a good track record, when it comes time to ask for sponsorship next year it is better to win in an old Fiesta than to be last in a Lamborghini. Building up reputation and experience year on year in lower series is the best way to get credibility and sponsorship when the time comes to go for your preferred series.

Or you could be born rich, which saves a lot of hard work!

My car never received any real sponsorship, but even so there are eight sponsored stickers! 1. The race series. 2. The organising club. 3. The series tyre supplier. 4. Goodrich who supplied brake hoses for free. 5. Demon Tweeks who supplied parts at 10% discount. 6. My friend's company that supplied my stickers for free. 7. Another friend's company, because he helped me build the car 8. My stickers with my company name on.
My car featured in many articles and was even on the front cover of Practical Performance Car and also Classics Monthly, but still this wasn't good enough to get any sponsorship. It's a tough world.
Track record is a vital ingredient, start wining lots of trophies in easy series to earn credability.

©Ralph Hosier