Let’s face it, karting can be a relatively expensive sport.
In order to successfully advance your karting career, you’re going to need some money and unless you come from a wealthy family or have a very good paying job you may need more money than you have access to! So, how can you offset the cost of go-kart racing? You get a sponsorship!
Sponsorships are part and parcel to all of racing, and they’re a key part to advancing any racing career. In this guide I’ll give you my take on everything to do with go-kart racing sponsorships and how to best draft a sponsorship proposal.
In detail, this article will cover the following:
- What is a go-kart sponsorship?
- Where to look for sponsors
- How to write a sponsorship letter
- Sample go kart sponsorship letter
- Do I require a sponsorship contract?
- How to maintain a good relationship with your sponsors
By the time you’ve read the article, you’ll have a clear path forward to securing your first sponsor and getting on the road to winning races.
1. What is a Go-Kart Sponsorship?
A go-kart sponsorship is when a business, whether it be a large multinational business or a small local business, offers you money for advertising their business on your go-kart, your racing gear or even on your trailer. Although money may seem like the primary reason to get a sponsorship, there are also several other benefits such as exposure on the company’s own website, on their social media pages and even publications.
Sponsorship models don’t always revolve around financial compensation in return of promotion. Some agreements can give kart racers a supply of go-karts, parts, equipment, consumables, or even a multi-structured deal.
As I mentioned earlier in the article, sponsorships are extremely important if you do not have the money to continuously fund your go-kart racing career. Now, this is not to say that somebody can’t race with no sponsors or hang with the very best racers of go-karting but the reality of the matter is that the very best racers and the very best karts have lots of sponsorship. These sponsorships often help to fund kart racers, so that they can set up their go-kart properly with the newest and best performing components.
In fact, if you intend to make racing a career of any kind or are deciding to take go-karting more seriously at a higher level, you’ll need to get really good at finding sponsors and keeping them happy.
2. Where to Look for Sponsors
Although a large national sponsorship may seem very enticing, they are not always the easiest to secure. In fact, most large companies who regularly sponsor racers have thousands and thousands of applications from people just like you.
Initially, you’re going to want to look for companies in your local region instead. They can be small businesses, medium-sized businesses, and some of them can even be large businesses, but keep your focus local first.
Most local businesses will gladly support a local person and be excited to go after their local customer base as well. After you’ve gotten some go-kart sponsorship experience and are consistently improving, you should change your focus to a broader and larger audience.
There is definitely some overlap with the type of companies you’re going to want to go after. Companies like Red Bull, for example, who own and sponsor F1 teams make lots of sense because energy drinks are part of the motorsports culture. However, this is not the only type of company that will sponsor a go-kart racer or team. Anything from a plumber to a local digital design company or to a consumer goods company would be happy to sponsor a go-kart racer.
In my opinion, it makes more sense to try and keep the motorsport focused sponsors first on your list, rather than going for non-motorsports sponsors. However, this can be situational and you should keep your mind open as you start looking. You could definitely start with auto body shops, mechanics, speed shops, any local go-kart shops, locations, tracks, organizers or companies that sell accessories or parts for go-karts. Basically anything within the motorsports or power sports arena.
Also take note of go-kart manufacturers in your country, as well as part manufacturers and wholesalers. Some of them would definitely want to increase their reach with a promotional deal.
Below is a summary of things to consider:
- Look locally first, then increase your reach
- Try to find companies related to motorsports first
- Check with go-kart tracks, locations and organizers
- Also try other local shops and companies in your locale
- Approach go-kart chassis and part manufacturers
- Talk to mechanics, auto shops or dealerships
Here’s a Pro Tip: look at the other karts on the track to see what kind of sponsorships they have and then take note of it. You can use this to get an idea of a suitable industry or company.
3. How to Write a Sponsorship Letter
When you are considering approaching a sponsor, you need to put your salesman hat on. You need to think about what is in it for them because at the end of the day, this is going to be a symbiotic relationship between the racer and the sponsor themselves and they’ll need to see the benefits.
You’ll want to start by mentioning about yourself, your achievements, your racing highlights, how long you’ve been racing, what your success was in the last season, and any records you’ve held at particular tracks. You want to put yourself in the best possible light. They’ll want to know that you’re gonna be at the front of the pack, that you’re gonna get noticed and you’re going to be the person that’s gonna show off their logo or their company the best.
When it comes time to the sponsorship proposal, you’ll want to keep it short and as effective as possible. Think of it as a resume. You don’t want to read page after page after page of material, instead you’ll want to be able to succinctly and quickly view your highlights, your achievements and what you can bring to the sponsorship relationship. Therefore, be professional, polite, respectful and confident. You should avoid fluff and arrogance at all times.
At the end of the day, you need to ask yourself “Why you?” and you need to approach the sponsorship letter from that point of view.
Things to consider highlighting:
- Information about yourself
- Their potential upside and benefits
- Your previous achievements
- Your future vision and goals
- Social media profiles
- Any features in publications
- Pictures of your racing journey
4. Sample Go Kart Sponsorship Letter
Writing a sponsorship proposal may not come easy to everyone. As a general rule, it’s always best to address the letter to someone who you’ve already identified either from a referral, call or previous reference. If you need some guidance on what a sponsorship letter could look like you can refer to the sample below. This should give you a better idea.
I would like to thank you for your time earlier and would like to reach out to you for a possible sponsorship opportunity. I’ve been a passionate go-kart racer since I was 8 years old and throughout the years have accumulated a wealth of experience, knowledge and exposure.
I have several great placement ideas on equipment, go-kart and apparel that I would like to propose. The sponsor placements are visible during race highlights, trophy presentations, interview, publication features and on social media profiles.
I believe that this could help to promote brand awareness of your company and I’m open to discuss a partnership proposal that would be beneficial to both parties. Please find my achievements below and some photos attached.
Experience: 10 Years
Class: Junior TKM / Rotax Max
Location: Jacksonville, FL
2018: Junior TKM – 1st Place
2019: Mayhem Charity Race – 2nd Place
2020: Rotax Max – 1st Place
I would like to thank you again for your time and for the potential opportunity. Please do not hesitate if you have any questions and I look forward to further discussions.
Here’s a Pro Tip: Try to add an additional paragraph where you describe how you identify with their product or service and how you see the sponsorship would benefit them. It’s a big bonus if you’re already one of their customers!
5. Do I Require a Sponsorship Contract?
While technically you don’t, you should always insist on drafting a proper sponsorship contract. Not only is this more professional, but it also helps both parties to officially establish expectations, goals, commitments and responsibilities.
Now, the sponsorship contract doesn’t have to be a long-winded piece of document. It just needs to hold all of the important and measurable information as well as the details of both parties. Ultimately, a sponsorship contract will ensure that both sponsor and beneficiary enter into a partnership deal with the same expectations and mutually agreed deliverables.
Here are some things to consider when drafting the contract:
- Write it clearly and concisely
- Avoid ambiguity
- State measurable deliverables
- Clearly mention the terms and conditions
- Make it fair for both parties
- Sign and date the contract
- Think about adding an exit clause
6. Maintaining a Good Relationship with your Sponsors
Once you get a sponsor, the challenge is not over. You still have to maintain a good relationship with them and keep progressing forward with your racing career, so that they get the exposure that they paid you for. This is a business relationship and there needs to be a clear concise understanding of expectations, timelines and returns.
Once both parties are clear from the get-go, it will make maintaining a good relationship with them much easier. You’ll want to meet with them on a regular basis and check in and see if they’ve any suggestions as well. Keep this an open and ongoing dialog. These businesses are paying you for exposure and it is on your back and on your wheels that they will gain the exposure they’re looking for.
The better you get the more exposure you and the company will get. At the end of the day, it’s all about creating and meeting expectations. Further down the road, you can continue to get better and larger sponsors because you’ve gotten more exposure and can also participate in more renowned leagues and events.