Posted on Mon 16th May, 2022
This week I sat down with Max Coates, ex Ginetta Junior driver and current MINI CHALLENGE contender about the hardship of finding sponsorship and the importance of having reliable sponsors.
Starting his career in Ginetta Junior’s Max completed 5 years of Ginetta championships working his way up the ranks until it was time to move onto the British Touring Car Championship. Max ran as a privateer team for the first few years making his racing a family occasion with him and his dad making up the team for a number of years.
Sponsorship in the junior categories isn’t something Max found overwhelming difficult due to a family friend buying his car for him and giving him the chance to race, of which coming 5th in the Ginetta Juniors championship was a great repayment.
As Max’s racing progressed sponsorship was harder to come by due to the substantial amount of capital needed to invest in his racing, and something that can prove a career stopper for some racers. Luckily, Coates has had the backing of loyal sponsors, ‘Primex Plastics’ since 2014 of which stuck with him through Ginetta G50 to Clio Cup and now the MINI Challenge.
Max typically has one year rolling contracts with his sponsors, which may lead you to believe that the pressure to keep such sponsors happy would be immense, however Max seemingly handles this like a pro. He did however, explain that during his younger years he placed more pressure on himself to preform then anyone around him did, something now after his many years on track he’s got a handle on.
The key to good sponsorship according to the ex Ginetta driver is finding someone that wants to be involved and help grow your career without having to “persuade a company to invest in it”.
Racing is an expensive game and sponsorship is the reason many racers are in the sport and this is no different for Max. Driver sponsorship is a fundamental piece of any racing drivers puzzle and its financial support is crucial for success in the sport, with Max openly admitting that his racing career “wouldn’t have happened in the first place”.
All in all, after my insight into this small part of Max’s world, sponsorship is a lifeline for many racers. Each season comes with significant pressure and the ability to show you can perform time and time again. However, having a supportive sponsor that is willing to invest in their driver and shows the same passion is an invaluable asset to any driver’s career.
Top tips for successful sponsorship: