RAC­ING IS NO CAUSE FOR CHAR­ITY

NZ Performance Car - - Editorial - Mar­cus Gib­son Email: mar­cus@per­for­mance­car.co.nz In­sta­gram: mar­cus_nzpc­magazine

I’m go­ing to let you’ll in on a lit­tle se­cret: very few peo­ple are paid to race in this coun­try. Usu­ally, it’s the car owner’s bank ac­count that takes the ham­mer­ing each time the car is loaded onto the trailer for a week­end’s rac­ing. For the most part, these peo­ple are busi­ness own­ers who write off a lot of the cost through their own com­pa­nies. Mo­tor­sport, even at a lower level, is an ex­pen­sive hobby. I get it — I’ve seen it gob­ble up Lotto mil­lions; send once-thriv­ing busi­nesses into the toi­let; lose fam­i­lies; and even put guys in prison, some of who are still sit­ting in a small con­crete box. Fund­ing this ob­ses­sion is a never-end­ing hus­tle, and se­cur­ing mean­ing­ful cash spon­sors is close to im­pos­si­ble for most, so I un­der­stand some des­per­ate rac­ers tak­ing to crowd­fund­ing web­sites to beg for dough.

A poet by the name of Shawn Carter once spat the line, “The purest form of giv­ing is anony­mous to anony­mous”, but I, for one, will never be hand­ing my hard-earned cash over to any­one who sets up a Givealit­tle page to fund their own rac­ing, es­pe­cially if it has no sig­nif­i­cant im­pact be­hind it.

The web­site’s by­line is “Fundrais­ing for the things that mat­ter”. Now, ev­ery­one will have a dif­fer­ent def­i­ni­tion of what ‘mat­ters’, and I’m as self­ish as the next self-funded racer, but I don’t deem pay­ing for a new en­gine, or crash dam­age so you can make your next lo­cal event, some­thing that ‘mat­ters’. I’d say that fund­ing some life-sav­ing can­cer treat­ment for a child is some­thing that mat­ters. Go ahead and call me harsh, sure, but I’m clearly not the only per­son who feels this way, as the per­for­mance of most of these cam­paigns is about as lack­lus­tre as the ef­fort that went into them in the first place. Over the years, I’ve seen a few suc­cess­ful ones, but these were few and far be­tween, and from rac­ers who had plenty of rac­ing his­tory, ex­pe­ri­enced suc­cess, and had a clear plan on where the money would get them on an in­ter­na­tional stage.

If your rac­ing has some sort of true sig­nif­i­cance, then fund­ing, or at least part fund­ing through spon­sor­ship, should not be im­pos­si­ble. But be warned, get­ting mar­ket­ing man­agers to hand over fist­fuls of cash is no walk in the park, even if your name is Ken Block. As any racer who is cur­rently spon­sored will tell you, it’s al­most a full-time gig chas­ing leads, clos­ing deals, shak­ing hands, and en­sur­ing that you’re de­liv­er­ing on prom­ises made; and all that is on top of ac­tu­ally run­ning your race car.

This is why I can see the al­lure of beg­ging on crowd­fund­ing web­sites, as I’m guess­ing these peo­ple have given spon­sor­ship a crack and failed to gain trac­tion. Gone are the days of slap­ping a sticker on your door that would see the sales spike come Mon­day if you won. Es­sen­tially, you need to be­come a brand am­bas­sador, and your race car is sim­ply an­other ad­ver­tis­ing plat­form.

There are a few re­ally good spon­sor­ship pod­casts that any racer could ben­e­fit from lis­ten­ing to — it’s a hard road to get there, but it’s not im­pos­si­ble. If you are go­ing to go the crowd­fund­ing route, at least of­fer some­thing tan­gi­ble in re­turn: a sticker, a T-shirt, a ride in the car — any­thing … as ask­ing for money when you’re of­fer­ing noth­ing in re­turn is no bet­ter than the guy pan­han­dling in front of the liquor store; he’s just feed­ing a dif­fer­ent ad­dic­tion.

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