How To Get Sponsored For Racing (Ultimate Grassroots Guide)

Sponsorship is a difficult topic for many racing drivers to talk about. You need money to race, and most people do not have the kind of money motorsport requires. That’s why sponsorship is so important in racing, but getting sponsored can be tough.

To get sponsored for racing, you need to change your mindset from that of a racing driver to that of a business person. You need to provide value for the potential sponsors, but finding sponsors in the first place is all about building your network using various different channels.

The good news is that it is possible to get sponsored, but it is extremely difficult, and you need to be ready to face rejection many times before you find your success. Below, I will discuss how you can get sponsored to go out and race even when you have no previous racing experience.

Do You Need Experience To Get Sponsors?

Many potential racing drivers think that only those with lots of track experience are able to get sponsors to race. Even some drivers who are already on the grid still think that you need to win championships in order to get sponsors. But that’s not entirely true.

In fact, you can get sponsors to race before even stepping into a race car. Of course, it is much easier if you do have a track record with previous race results, and even better if you have already won a championship.

Providing Value

Drivers do not always get sponsored because they perform well, although it can be a big selling point. You might have seen some drivers who win championships, but they still can’t get sponsors. This is because they can’t provide value to their potential sponsors.

Winning a championship is great, as it shows that you have the talent to match your passion. But if you are just offering potential sponsors a sticker on your race car, you won’t get sponsored. The value of that sticker is not worth $20,000 even if your car finishes first in every single race. This leads us on to the first major mistake that drivers make when looking for sponsors: having the wrong mindset.

Changing Your Mindset As A Racer To Get Sponsored

Most people go out there trying to find sponsors thinking like a racing driver. They ask for money in return for a sticker or logo on the front of their car. Unfortunately, this does not bring much value to the business you are asking. They might get their logo seen by more people or featured on your social media channels, but you can’t just sell the sticker – you need to sell what the sticker will mean for them.

Tell Them What They’ll Get

Your mindset needs to change from racing driver to business person. The way you should be selling your sticker on the race car is by telling the business that their logo will be seen by 10,000 people every weekend on TV (if possible) or on your social media profiles (if you have a following).

Then you need to go into detail about the demographics of these 10,000 people and how they fit the target audience of their business. This means you need to understand these demographics and understand how they match up to your potential sponsor’s products or services. If they don’t match up, they’re probably not the right sponsor.

For example, if you have a large social media following of primarily young adults or teenagers, such as those that might follow a junior racing series, you’re going to have a tough time selling sponsorships to accounting firms or website software companies. They just don’t match up with your audience.

Act Like A Brand

The key is to sell your racing like a business would. You should see your racing as a product or service that you sell to businesses. Imagine yourself as a brand. You are offering the service of marketing another business’ products or services using your brand (which is racing).

If you look at modern-day Formula 1 drivers, most of them have their own brand’ Even though they are tied to teams, drivers have their own logos, colors and fan bases. This is their branding, which they use to sell to sponsors.


• You need to think like a business person to get sponsored for racing

• If you can’t offer any value to the sponsors, they won’t give you any money

• You need to create a brand around your racing to attract sponsorships

Finding Potential Sponsors As A Racing Driver

This brings us onto finding potential sponsors. Once you have established your brand, you will have a better idea of your goals and the type of ‘business’ you are running. Now you need to find other businesses that match that type of brand.

You need to do extensive research into potential sponsors. Look at how they do their marketing, who their target market is and what their goals are. If those match up with how you operate, then you could be a good match.

Most drivers will send out a standard blanket email to hundreds of companies and just hope for one or two of them to reply and show some interest. However, you will most likely only get a few replies, and they will probably all say no. Most companies either won’t reply, or your email will go straight to their junk folder.

Personalized Outreach

The important thing to remember when contacting companies is personalization. If they see that you have actually done some research into them, and you know what their company is about, then they will take more time to consider your proposal. Rather than sending out a standard email to 100 companies, try to spend some time researching everything about a few companies and contact them.

If you can demonstrate good knowledge of the industry and the company you are requesting sponsorship from, it will become much easier to work with them and to carry on working with them throughout the rest of your career as a racing driver.

Making Contact With Racing Sponsors

Contacting the business is a crucial step. At this point, you should have done your research, and you know the business as well as anyone else who is already working there. The key here is to get in touch with the main decision makers within the business.

Ideally you would want to go straight to the CEO or the Marketing Director, but clearly this isn’t going to be easy, especially for larger sponsors. So, you’ll likely need to speak to people lower down in the chain initially, but the ones at the top are the people you’re eventually going to need to convince to give you money.

Talk About Them, Not You

Do not barge your way in and immediately start selling your racing and demand money from them. It’s a good idea to slowly introduce yourself to the business and talk more about them rather than yourself. This will tell them you’ve done your research, and it’s a natural way to start talking about how sponsoring you can help their business specifically.

A good way to get in touch with sponsors is through social media. The best one to use in this case is LinkedIn. LinkedIn is an amazing tool to meet people in a more professional manner than the usual platforms like Facebook and Twitter. You are able to search for people based on their jobs, companies and locations.

Once you are connected with the people at your target business, try to talk to them about something unrelated to motorsport at first. If you immediately message them about your racing you could easily just be blocked or ignored. Start off by talking about them, or something their company has done recently. Perhaps it’s something they posted on social media, or an event they hosted in your local area.

Getting The Conversation Going

Most people will ignore messages if you start talking about something unrelated to them or something they have no interest in. The important part is to get people to start talking about themselves and what they do.

Once you have got them chatting and you are starting to get to know one another, you can gently guide the conversation towards cars, motorsport, or yourself. Generally, people will ask about your career and they might show an interest in the racing driver title, and this is an easy way to move the conversation onto your partnership opportunity later down the line.

People are much more likely to sponsor you if they feel like they know you. They most likely won’t sponsor you if they do not know you and know nothing about you. So, start to build a relationship first, and then sell your brand once the opportunity comes along. This takes time and patience, and if you rush this process, you could close that door and burn the bridge on your way out.


• You need to try and find businesses that match with your brand

• You then need to reach out to the decision makers at those businesses

• Using social media like LinkedIn is a good way to do this, but it takes time to build up meaningful connections

How To Provide Value For Sponsors

This is something that every racing driver struggles with. The standard ‘offering’ is usually “I can put your company’s logo on my race car and that looks cool, and people will see it.” Is that really worth $10,000 (or however much you are asking for)?

You need to find ways that you can provide value to your potential sponsors. If they are going to be spending money on you, you need to give the same value back to them in benefits. Sponsorship should be an exchange, not a one-way street. There are a number of ways that you can do that, but you will need to get creative and think outside the box.

An Example Of What You Can Offer

Of course, offering hospitality packages at races can be a nice touch, but you need to personalize it to the business’ goals in order to really make it valuable, as they might not be interested in the racing. Let’s take an example of a company that is heavily focused on sales performance – a car dealership. The dealership’s goal is to increase the motivation of their employees and get them to sell more cars.

What you can do here is to say to the company that you can offer 4 VIP tickets to a race weekend, plus a driving experience in your race car. The company can then use that as a tool to motivate their staff to sell more cars, by offering the salesperson that sells the most cars in a month 4 VIP tickets to the race weekend.

Now you are using something you can offer and directly linking it with the goals of the business and helping them to achieve that. The key to providing top value to your sponsors is to link it directly to their goals and what they want to achieve.

How To Keep Sponsors Coming Back

Having a sponsor for one season might help you in the short term, but keeping sponsors on for multiple seasons is the real goal. Of course, you would ideally want to keep your sponsors for your entire racing career because it saves you from constantly having to go and find new sponsors every single year! But this doesn’t always happen, and you need to be realistic.

Offer Them Direct Additional Value

You need to put your sponsors first. One way you can do this is to provide extra value directly. If you’re trying to sell the fact your race car might look good on social media for example, you could create the content for them to post, to save them paying someone else and taking the time to do it.

Find some of your favorite photos from the race weekend and transform then into social media posts. This saves your sponsor from having to do the extra work, and all they need to do in the end is post the photos. Take an hour or two after a race weekend to create some awesome social media posts and send them directly to your sponsors.

Get Involved

The same goes for events. Help their team set up for the event and play an active role in assisting with the event itself. It goes a long way to show that you care about your sponsors and you’re not just taking their money and using it to fuel your racing. You need to get involved with your sponsors.

Another way that you can keep your sponsors onboard is by meeting with them to see what has worked for them and what hasn’t. For example, has their social media reach and level of engagement increased after hosting an event? Do their motorsport related posts get more likes and views than others? Use what works and what doesn’t to your advantage.

Try to gather as much data as possible, from follower count growth to mentions and links. You can use this data to see just how effective your sponsorship program actually was, and you can use it to show potential new sponsors proof of how sponsorship within motorsport works and how it can benefit them.

How To Find More Sponsors

Once you are able to secure one sponsor it becomes easier to secure more. This is because you know what works and what doesn’t in terms of offering value to a business, and you’ll also have a case study to show off your success to other potential sponsors.

Many drivers stop looking for sponsors once they have enough to cover their budget for the season. But that doesn’t allow you to grow, and you should always be seeking to bring in more money than you’re spending (again, think like a business). This will allow you to buy better gear, run more practice sessions, and hopefully move further up the motorsport ladder.

Offer Trial Sponsorships

If you happen to find a new business you want to approach in the middle of a season, you could offer them a trial sponsorship. Allow them to sponsor you for a smaller fee for one race weekend to let them see how sponsoring you can help their business. Afterwards you can review how the weekend went for them and how they want to proceed with the sponsorship.

If it works well, you might get a new long-term sponsor out of it. But if it doesn’t help their business, you can learn why, and this will help you make better decisions in future when it comes to matching up potential sponsors with your racing brand.

Attending Events

If your sponsors are hosting events, these can be great networking opportunities for you. You never know who might attend your sponsors’ events. It could be a CEO or a marketing director from a business that you didn’t even know about. If they like what they see, they might even come to you and open the door for a new sponsorship deal.

If you and your sponsors’ social media reach is good enough, it could attract the attention of other businesses as well. If a lot of people are talking about your racing or your partnership with your sponsor, you might even be approached by other businesses who want to sponsor you.

However, this is rare, and sometimes offers that sound too good to be true are exactly that. Always thoroughly research any business that approaches you (and indeed those you approach as well) to ensure they’re the right fit.


• Sponsorship is a two-way street, and you need to provide value for the businesses giving you money

• Getting more sponsors and keeping them onboard is the long-term goal

• Some offers are too good to be true – always do your research!

Final Thoughts

Sponsorship can be extremely difficult to find, especially in the world of motorsport. The extreme costs involved in motorsport means that many businesses are put off of spending the amounts of money required for racing. But it’s not impossible!

You just need to change your mindset and put the business first. Once you have secured your sponsorship with a business, make sure you take care of them really well, and they will hopefully return the favor. It could lead to multi-year sponsorship deals with that business, and it could even attract more potential sponsors as well.