This blog post is quite niche, it is directed at drivers who have the proven speed but don't have the money to pay for a worthy race seat.
No one needs to tell you that Motorsport is uber expensive, the formula car championships can cost from €200,000 to €2million per season and on the touring car ladder you can expect to pay from €150,000 to €500,000 per season.
This kind of money for most people on this planet is way out of reach, which is a shame because as always we see a lot of fast drivers who cannot afford to get into the driving seat.
You may be surprised at the amount of drives available that are free or very cheap. Over the past few years I have seen totally free drives in virtually every championship including Formula Renault EuroCup, World Series Renault and GP2.
So the drives are out there but most drivers either have no clue that these opportunities exist due to poor management or are not proactive enough to find these deals.
Why are there cheap drives around now?
Well in short it is a driver's market at the moment because money is scarce so the teams are having to find sponsorship and / or teams are desperate to raise their market value so are prepared to invest in good drivers to make themselves more attractive to big money drivers.
This is the process of what teams can go through:
First - They have a poor year - The results have been terrible all year due to the team or driver's under performing.
Second - Their market value drops - Drivers no longer see them as a top team so don't want to drive for them.
Third - The team is shocked into action - They realise that they are going to have to invest in order to save their business.
Fourth - They offer a free or cheap drive - They offer the top drivers a deal they cannot refuse.
Fifth - The results improve - The new driver starts winning or massively improves their results.
Sixth - The team is back in business - They can now start charging normal prices and have their security back.
This in essence is what most teams are faced with, it is a fluctuating industry where teams have to take the action in order to continue competing long term.
This is the same for companies in and out of Motorsport, when business is bad you need to invest to bring it back to life.
So if you are one of these talented drivers with little cash then what can you do? Let's take a look.
The top 7 tips to getting free or lower cost drives.
1) Understand that getting a free / cheap drive is simple, it is just up to you to take action everyday.
Get the correct mindset before you start. These tips may sound too obvious and that's because they are. Succeeding at anything in life is simple, not easy but simple, you just have to get off your backside and do them each day you can.
These simple actions are working right now, just dedicate yourself to persistently do them and you will get a drive eventually, guaranteed.
2) Get clear on what you are offering the team, the deal.
Get your sales pitch down, what are you going to say to the team bosses and how are you going to come across? Remember that there are teams out there that desperately need help to improve their results and you have the skill to help them do that. Show them why they should invest in you and how the results you will get will put them back at the top. Write down the benefits of having you over other drivers and create a genuine win win partnership. If you have B2B business ideas then bring them into play.
3) Do not 'blag' the teams.
You need the driving skill to pull this off, there is no need promising a team the world if you don't have the speed to deliver. Do not be one of those drivers who think they are good but have no track record to go off, teams will go directly to Driver Database to see if you are worthy of backing. If you over look this tip then you will come across like one of those XFactor contestants who think they can sing when actually they are tone deaf.
4) Pick your teams.
There is no point pinning your hopes on the championship winning teams, you can practice your sales pitch on them if you like to start with but they do not need to invest in a driver if they already have a lot of interest from paying drivers. There is obviously an exception for this rule, if a top team has a philosophy of getting 2 high paying drivers to subsidize a race seat for a fast driver then there may be a chance. This is where your knowledge of the teams comes in.
Look at teams who used to have a good record but are recently going through a rough time, they may be open to you helping them get back on the map.
5) Get help.
With No.4 in mind, if you do not have the confidence to ask teams or do not have the knowledge of how the individual teams work then get a good manager, someone who knows the people in the paddock, who has respect from the teams and who can squeeze blood from a stone. These managers are around and they do this for a living, you are better off paying them to help you get a free / cheap drive if you are not sure. They know all the tricks of the trade.
6) Call, call and call.
Whether it is you or a manager that is approaching the teams just make sure that every day of this month some steps and contacts are being made. Be persistent and just get used to people turning you down and you having to adjust your approach. Do this long enough and you will get tests and openings.
7) It's never too early.
You may think that it is too early to do this in October because teams will be holding seats open hoping that fully paid drivers will call them. This may be what a lot of teams are doing but if you call them early then you stand a chance of getting in their before other drivers try and do the same. You will have introduced yourself so if you need to call them back in February for a late deal then they will remember you and it will not be a late cold call anymore.
Plus it is winter testing time so they may be able to offer you a cheap or free test, not only to evalute you but they will want to be fast in testing in order to attract new drivers, this way you are creating the win win partnership straight away. Many drivers do this over winter to help teams look impressive at this crucial time.
This is not you taking advantage of struggling teams.
Not at all, instead it is you thinking like a businessman and offering deals where everyone benefits. That's perfectly acceptable and the most you can do when you have talent without finance.
This will work if executed as above so get pen to paper and start planning your attack.
Let me know how you get on.