- Stefan Vapaa
- Mary Anne Fieux
- Randy Cook
- Ed Diehl
- George Vapaa
- Jon Ewing
- William Harding
- Chris Moberg
97 Sonett III
97 Sonett V4
Quantum Formula SAAB
Brand'X' Sports Racer
- Tom Cox
- Chip Lamb
- Sune Nilsson
- Laura Briggs
- Don Wollum
Mar 26, 2006
text may not be reproduced without the explicit permission of VSRG)
companies look for unique and high-payoff ways to reach new markets for
their products. Companies are increasingly using motorsports marketing,
through partnerships with racing teams, to increase consumer awareness
and develop brand loyalty. There are many good reasons why marketing within
the sport of historic automobile racing, and partnering with the VSRG,
is a smart marketing mechanism to use:
A. What’s The Consumer Environment?
motorsports spectator is a loyal customer who has a propensity to purchase
premium goods and services. Recent marketing surveys have found that
64% of motorsports fans claim to purchase a sponsor’s product.
Significantly, 71% of motorsports fans frequently, or almost always,
would switch brands to support auto racing.
(the words are often used interchangeably) racing is the fastest growing
segment of motorsports in the United States and Europe. Vintage events
are spectacles of sight and sound, with 300 or more competitors entering
each event driving diverse, historically significant race cars. Most
importantly, they’re laid-back, spectator friendly events - -
prior championship cars are within reach of the spectators, motorsport
driving legends are easily approached, and the current car owners are
always willing to tell about their pride and joy's history and triumphs.
Such open access to the track and the pits allows fans to build intense
loyalties to the drivers, cars and their sponsors.
B. What Historic Races Could VSRG Members Attend?
vehicles qualify to race in no fewer than three vintage motorsports
series that are held on the U.S. east coast. These events span multiple
days and are held almost year-round. SVRA and HSR largely converged
in 2002, so they closely coordinate their independent events. SVRA /
HSR events are some of the largest vintage
racing competitions held annually in the United States. Here’s
a representative list of events and locations:
Historic Sportscar Racing, Ltd. (HSR):
Walter Mitty Challenge, Road Atlanta, Braselton, GA
Watkins Glen Historic Races, Watkins Glen International,
Watkins Glen, NY
Virginia Historic Races, Virginia International Raceway,
Atlanta Historic Races, Road Atlanta, Braselton, GA
Brumos Summit Point Double Header, Summit Point Raceway,
Summit Point, WV
Sportscar Vintage Racing Association (SVRA):
12 Hours of Sebring, Sebring International Raceway, Sebring,
Spring Fling, Roebling Road, Bloomingdale, GA
Vintage GT Challenge, Road America, Elkhart Lake, WI
Sprint Vintage Gand Prix, Mid-Ohio Sportscar Course, Mansfiled,
Zippo Grand Prix, Watkins
Glen International, Watkins Glen, NY
Blue vs. Gray Challenge, Summit Point Raceway, Summit Point,
Season Finale, Virginia International Raceway, Alton, VA
Vintage Sports Car Club of America (VSCCA):
Spring Sprints, Lime Rock Raceway, Lakeville, CT
Spring Races, Virginia International Raceway, Alton, VA
Lime Rock Finale, Lime Rock Raceway, Lakeville, CT
Turkey Bowl, Summit Point Raceway, Summit Point, WV
C. What’s The Estimated Attendance At Each
Race (Teams and Spectators)?1
SVRA's 12 Hours of Sebring draws over 160,000 spectators; however,
most vintage racing events are more conservatively attended:
D. What Are The Demographics Of Race Attendees?
demographics analysis of the spectators who attend non-professional,
closed-circuit road racing events has never been completed in the U.S.
Fans of vintage racing are a unique subset of this consumer pool. Its
estimated that these fans are in the 35-65 year old age group and have
middle-to-upper class incomes. They attend the events to admire the
cars and reminisce about the ‘golden age’ of American automobile
racing. Throughout the race day, they visit the paddocks to chat with
the racing teams, and ‘wine and dine’ on hospitality decks
or grassy slopes. Other spectators are retired race drivers, past car
owners, or rabid fans of particular automotive marques.
very important to note that there are no monetary prizes for ‘winning’
vintage races. The owners, drivers, crews, and spectators there are
re-living history through spirited, wheel-to-wheel (but non-contact)
racing. In some cases, the ownership, operation and maintenance costs
of these rare cars is greater than those for a professional racing team.
Correspondingly, the participants and enthusiasts represent an upscale
market with large discretionary incomes.
E. How Will The Sponsor’s Name Be Exposed
To A Race Attendee?
exposure is happening continuously before, throughout, and after a race
weekend - - while traveling to/from the event, on site, and in print
and internet media after the race. At the race site, vintage racing
teams and their families are a close-knit community, openly sharing
their expertise, tools and sponsor-provided materials to keep all the
cars running. Fans constantly hear sponsor references and view sponsor
logos, and learn from the teams how sponsor support keeps the teams
operating, while they freely move about the paddocks. VSRG tow vehicles/trailers,
canopies, and literature will carry sponsor logos, and team members
will wear corporate apparel, racing garments, baseball caps and T-shirts
imprinted or embroidered with sponsor logos.
F. How Will The Sponsor’s Name Be Exposed
To The Public After The Race In Text / Image Likenesses?
motorsports events are widely embraced by the motorsports ’hardcopy’
and World Wide Web press. The general press covers this type of motorsports
on an ad hoc basis. Race reports containing explicit references to active
corporate sponsorships will be submitted to motorsports press outlets
by VSRG. For example:
dominant periodical covering all amateur motorsports is Grassroots
Motorsports, and it devotes content specifically to all SVRA and
HSR events. Also, an article about the VSRG consortium will be submitted
mid-season and/or summary news article about the drivers/cars will be
submitted for publication by local and regional newsprint organizations
where venues for sports and community interest stories are provided.
media: A J.D. Powers & Associates APEAL study found that Saab car
owners use the Internet more, and have more advanced degrees, than any
other automobile owner group.
NINES, the National Saab Club Magazine, will publish any
article submitted that is Saab-related. NINES subscribers are highly
diversified with respect to the age of their Saab cars. An article
can be submitted to NINES for each event attended by VSRG cars, and
an article about the VSRG consortium can be submitted, as well.
The Saab Network website will generate significant numbers
of sponsor impressions via the “Current News” headlines/links
section on its homepage. Founded in 1988, it was a pioneering automotive
list server, and later became one of the first car make-specific websites
on the Web. The Saab Network will generate
a “Current News” headline/link to any VSRG racing
The Vintage Saab Racing Group website highlights
sponsor logos on the homepage, emphasizes the value of sponsor support
in all pertinent text, and provides links to sponsor websites. Race
event articles, and special interest articles about VSRG members and
their cars, are being added over time to further highlight the relationships
we have with our sponsors.
VSAAB.com is a website dedicated solely to vintage Saabs.
The homepage is a directory of links with accompanying text explaining
the link. Sponsor logos and/or names will be displayed along with
a link to the VSRG website.
VSRG sponsors will benefit from a wide array of media outlets and methods.
The distribution and demographics of the media tools mentioned above
are highlighted here:
worldwide circulation/issue; 8 issues/yr; over 69% are age 24-49;
33% are vintage race enthusiasts; 95% have attended college; 82%
are in managerial, technical, professional or sales occupations;
88% earn over $50k/yr income; 31% earn over $100k/yr income.2
Public (a regional example is provided here)
Media General, Inc. “Newsbank”
General, Inc publishes daily and weekly newspapers, and other
periodicals, in Virginia, North and South Carolina, Florida and
Alabama. In the Richmond metro area, there are 800,000 paid circulations
weekdays, 900,000 paid circulations Sundays.5
NINES, the National Saab Club Magazine
circulation worldwide/month; 12 issues/yr; 700 issues distributed
within MD, metro D.C., WV, VA, TN, NC, SC, GA, FL and AL areas.6
The HSR and SVRA websites post the “Harrington Report,”
with photos, to summarize each vintage event; written by noted motorsports
writer and photographer Bob Harrington; website statistics unknown.
The Saab Network (www.saabnet.com)
unique visitors/month; over 2.5 million page views/month; 59%
are age 25-44; 76% hold college degrees or higher; 87% are professionals
or in technical occupations; average household income over $100k/yr.7
Vintage Saab Racing Group (VSRG) Website
approximately 250 visitors/month; visit rate is increasing following
proactive advertising, linking from other web sites, and Google
10,000 unique visitors/month.8
G. Calculations Of Comparable Value
“comparable value” analysis has been done by the VSRG based
on widely used and accepted ‘media audit’ exposure valuation
practices used in the field of motorsports marketing and sponsorship.
There are many complex calculations, but to keep things simple: The
comparable value of one VSRG member attending
six events can be well over $10
million! The complete analysis can be provided upon request.
I. How Can A Marketing Partnership With The VSRG
Be Expanded And Improved?
sponsors can increase the reach and impact of their corporate image
at vintage racing events through on-site merchandising and promotional,
advertising and hospitality opportunities. Examples could include:
a track billboard
giveaways (At consumer outlets; as employee incentives; as team rewards)
promotional / souvenir items (seat cushions, visors, t-shirts, tote
an event sponsor or associate sponsor
VSRG will gladly support and assist companies to coordinate and develop
these, or other profitable marketing programs through our contacts in
the road racing industry.
- - Estimated
based on sanctioning body websites, past event summaries, participation,
word of mouth, and other empirical information.
- - Grassroots
Motorsports ‘Media Kit,’ 2002.
- - The
final results of every SCCA/Volvo Historic Series race is documented
in Sportscar as a ‘Driver/Car’ mention. One or more news
articles will be submitted for publication to obtain explicit sponsor
- - SCCA
Sportscar, 2002; and SCCA Member’s Survey, October 11, 1996.
- - Media
General, Inc., Circulation Department, October 29, 2002.
- - NINES
publisher Stephen Goldberger, October 26, 2002.
- - The
Saab Network website ‘Media Kit,’ 2002.
- - VSAAB
webmaster Chris Rogers, October 30, 2002.