As promised, here is our second driver article for our series on becoming a sponsored driver. This time, we see the view from a driver that originally started in motorcross and transitioned into RC very successfully based on his prior sponsorship experience. Keep reading to hear his story…
What it takes to be a Sponsored Driver
By: Chris Blais
You have to look at it from a business perspective. Companies don’t want to give out discounts or free product if they don’t think they will get a return in some way. I use Facebook and also send out monthly Press Releases, along with a Press Release after each big event. My PR contains a race report from the event, YouTube videos of each main event with sponsor logos at the beginning and sponsor logos with links to their website. Each of our team sponsors use this content to advertise their product on their websites, blogs, Facebook pages, etc. The Blais Racing Services team reports are a lot more than what most people can do but it makes it much easier to get sponsored and keep your current sponsors happy.
Sponsors are looking for those working hard to promote what their doing and keeping everyone informed. They want to hear from you on a regular basis and keep them and the RC industry updated. Not a single sponsor we have now did we apply for. They have all come to us asking if we would run their product because of the PR we were putting out. They wanted to be involved and be a part of our program. If you want to see what we do and be added to our PR list, just send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org. This may give you some helpful ideas of what you can do or even do better. I just started rounding up email address I could find from websites and in the magazines and just started emailing them my race reports. It’s easier to contact and ask a sponsor for some help when they at least have seen what you do or who you are. You have to stand out more than everyone else if you want to be noticed when applying. We live in a world of technology and small written race reports without videos or photos aren’t enough anymore.
The best place to try and start is with your local track. Track owners usually know a lot of people in the industry and can get you connected. The first sponsor is always the hardest to get then it gets easier. Yes you need to be a decent driver in your respective class to be able to get support the easiest. You need good results to advertise for the company. If you are repetitively at the back of the pack, it’s hard to say the products you are using are helping you. When you are smoking everyone at your local track, they want to know what you are using and normally go the same route. As a sponsored driver, you are expected to represent the company professionally on and off the track. Talk to people and help educate them on the products and company you represent. Show good sportsmanship at the track. Give the company feedback on the products and what you think. This is how their products progress and get better.
If you’re not out there to perform to the best of your ability, don’t ask for sponsorship. Companies want to sponsor people who want to be their best and want the best products for the job. It’s also best to stick with a sponsor for as long as you can & build a lasting relationship. This is great for both parties.
When I first started to get back into RC again two years ago, I knew I wanted to be a sponsored driver. Five years ago I was injured that ended my career as a Professional Off-Road Motorcycle racer. I had a lot of great sponsors in that industry and knew I could do the same in the RC industry. The first thing I did was made friends with my local track owners at Coyote Hobbies in Victorville. Dave Batta and his wife Mona are great people. I went to my local track about twice a week and started doing very well at the track. One day Dave offered me a great sponsorship package if I were to travel to some different local events and compete to represent Coyote Hobbies. My next sponsor was Proline. I just happened to go to Thunder Alley in Beaumont, CA one night with my 4×4 short course truck and lapped everyone in my race. Three of the guys worked at Proline and Tim Clark offered me a starter deal right on the spot. I just happened to be in the right place at the right time. Our current team sponsors are Coyote Hobbies, Proline, Venom, Tekno RC, Team Associated, and Tekin. Thank you for everything you do for us. Seeya at the races!