The biggest step in your preparation will be to attend a few events before submitting any proposals. The goal here is to document your events in detail. A little more time spent on this step could make all the difference. And don’t worry, you don’t have to be writer/journalist to do this effectively.
Get Out to the Track Events
Attend events and take photos – lots of photos. This includes photos of your car obviously, but also get some shots of yourself in the car, next to the car, and definitely include shots of any current sponsorship on the car or on your clothing. Make friends with a photographer! Or just bring a friend along to take photos of you on track. Try and get some good action shots. For those who have the luxury of an in-car video camera, use it. Again, plug your sponsors. If you don’t have sponsors to plug, put some non-sponsor decals on the car and plug them in your photos. This gives you the opportunity to show potential sponsors what they can expect when sponsoring you.
Rub elbows with other event attendees. Build relationships, especially with others at the event with the same make and model as you. Offer help if/when possible. Remember, you’re building a reputation and often it’s the little things that make an impression. How does this tie into sponsorship? We’ll touch on this more when we dive into your online efforts. It’s important to build and grow your network.
Jot down some notes from the event – any issues you ran into, things you witnessed, anything exciting. If you’re competing in the events, write down the goals and accomplishments from each event. Try and compete in a class that you have a shot of placing well in, possibly even win. Obviously, the more events you place well in the more you accomplishments you can share with potential sponsors.
On a budget?
Racing is expensive. Whether it be drag racing, autocross, time trials, club racing, land speed, rally cross, or any of the other amateur racing types out there, sponsorship helps you do what you love without going completely broke… we’ll, it helps slow the process. But how do you get that all important track time in when money is tight? Practice on public roads? No.
For road course racers on a budget, look into the series you’re racing in. Clubs like NASA and SCCA will sometimes have volunteer opportunities available where you can put in your time helping out at events and get some free track time in return. Inquire with your local club and see what’s available. If you find that the racing you want to do (like Time Trials or Club Racing) are just too costly to get into without sponsorship, attend events that cost less, like autocross. Autocross events are cheaper to enter, easier on your car, and there is less risk of crashing and damaging your car. Seat time is seat time, even at lower speeds. Learn the car and get a feel for the balance and the limits of adhesion. This way you can get some valuable experience under your belt and documentation done at the same time. And you can always plan to jump up to Time Trials next season.
Just be sure to get some photos of any events you attend and participate in.