Long Beach Grand Prix 2016

Tom Long: How to Make It in Motorsports

While on-track performance is always important in today’s motorsport environment, there are other facets that are equally important, like the business component of racing. The latter is often the differentiator for the very talented racer.

Without the business aspect, many motorsport opportunities would never come to fruition. Manufacturers and sponsors justify their motorsport expenditure by the marketing and partnership opportunities that the sport creates.

As a driver, the business of motorsport is vital. Creating alliances with a manufacturer or company can provide opportunities to further your career. Personally, the relationship that I’ve been fortunate enough to have with Mazda has provided me with vast opportunities, whether they are in the driver’s seat or just within the racing scene in general.

Understanding what you can do when you’re not in the driver’s seat can have as much of an impact on your career as what you can do when you’re in the car! Don’t get me wrong: training and being the best driver you can be is paramount, but cultivating the relationships and providing value for your partners is what will keep you in the driver’s seat.

Throughout this season, at select IMSA events, I was part of the Hot Lap Experience, which provided VIP guests with a unique behind-the-scenes perspective of not just the race track, but with the high speeds of a turbo-charged Mazda6. This opportunity to give both VIP guests and Mazda executives a thrilling experience is a key way that I can increase my value as a driver.

Whether you’re racing for a win or promoting a sponsor outside of the car, all of the little things add up: mentioning your sponsor in interviews, representing them in a positive light with fans (both in person and online!), and always acting in a professional manner are just some of the things that make a big difference. Ultimately, your value as a driver has many facets that can be equally important to a company.

Read more on www.TomLongRacing.com