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Gearing Up for the World of Racing

(November 2011) posted on Tue Nov 08, 2011

Tackling the challenges of race-car graphics.

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By Jared Smith

I have never experienced any industry as steadfast in this rule as the racing world. Racers expect you to be one of them to work with them. You are required to understand their car, their series, the differences in classes, the racing divisions, and who the current point leader is. The industry’s leaders are very serious here, and if you try to fake the knowledge, they will find out. So, study up, attend some races, sponsor a car, and be prepared to do what it takes to earn your way in.

Preparing for the challenge
Okay, now let's talk budgets. In the world of racing, there are two kinds of budgets: shoestring and Fortune 500 (perhaps a bit of an exaggeration, but you get the point). Most race vehicles are not entering NASCAR or Formula One. I would estimate that about 80 percent are up-and-comers or weekend enthusiasts.

Your shoestring-budget racers pay for their own tires, save for months to buy their trailers, and get yelled at by their spouses for spending too much time on their “hobby.” And while they may not have big-time sponsors, they will at least have some sort of sponsorship, which means they need some graphics to reciprocate the support. Because of this, our shop has determined that they can’t spend a lot of money on graphics, but purchasing the graphics is still a must. Hence, this type of racer is not really your ideal client unless you’re still paying your dues or just wanting to help them out.

On the other side of the coin are the pro teams with the Fortune 500-type budgets. These racers have big money from big companies and are responsible for ensuring that their sponsors receive maximum exposure. This is accomplished in two ways: the driver needs to win and the graphics need to make that sponsor look like a million bucks. And these clients will pay you well to ensure their sponsors are shown in the best light.