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Tuesday, 15 November 2016 00:00

Sponsorships: The off-track battle for supremacy


The chase for sponsorship has never been so fierce. Triple Eight Race Engineering and DJR Team Penske took different approaches to funding their racing operations in 2016. They talk V8X Supercar Magazine through their different styles in the evolving world of sponsorships in issue #95.

Issue #95 is on sale now in stores with the digital edition available in the official V8X app (in the App Store and Google Play), online at DigitalEdition.V8XMagazine.com.au and in the Magzter app store.

CLICK HERE for more information on V8X Supercar Magazine issue #95.

The motorsport world is both equally cursed and blessed by sponsorship. Since the time Lotus' Colin Chapman first started down the tobacco route with Gold Leaf in Formula 1 in the late 1960s, motorsport has grown from either being a testing bed for car and related companies or a hobby for the rich to a serious business in its own right.

It all started out as a sticker here and there, then it grew to include corporate entertainment, access to drivers and the team and much more.

That is the blessing... money, exposure and image. The curse is you need sponsors with deep pockets and commitment... and they aren't easy to find in a challenging economy.

Speed costs and if you want to play at the pointy end with two cars you will need at least $5 million a season. Sponsors by their very nature are corporate beasts and even someone like Tony Quinn at VIP Petfoods/Darrell Lea with his love of motorsport has to get a return on his investment.

For others, you will see them in and out of the series, raising and lowering their investment and sometimes swapping between teams as they look for that return. It is a cut-throat world.

The motor industry has fed the beast for many years, with car manufacturers and oil companies dominating the landscape. Tobacco companies were legislated out of the game in the mid-1990s, which saw more diversity in the sponsorship market.

This comes at a time when manufacturers are spending less in direct backing for teams, with Ford pulling its support and Holden funneling its support into the one team, Triple Eight.

How you get the money to go racing is now as varied as which social media outlet you use to talk with your mates. You can travel down the 'traditional' route of one naming-rights sponsor and limiting the support sponsors, or you can chase down a different sponsor for each meeting and then anything in between.

Triple Eight represents the more traditional model, with one major naming rights sponsor and a limit of minor sponsors on the cars. DJR Team Penske is at the other end and led the charge for the 'alternative' model with a constant rotation of backers, before settling on title sponsorship from Shell from 2017.

CLICK HERE to purchase the print edition of issue #95 to read the full feature.