Normally we are used to seeing drivers and vehicles wearing the colors and graphics of product and service logos. If this represents the vast majority of sponsorships, we must not forget the potential that championships, especially high-level ones, can have for tourism promotion.
In fact, cases of liveries decorated with invitations to visit specific places and countries are not uncommon. The principle is valid because the international stage allows you to reach an extremely large potential audience. Furthermore, the context in which this happens should not be overlooked: curious and passionate enthusiasts go to the racetrack to have fun and follow their favorites. Consequently, their attention span and receptivity are certainly higher, as is their propensity to move. A percentage of them has certainly traveled to reach the event venue and could stay for the entire weekend or several days, having the opportunity to get in touch with local accommodation facilities.
In many cases, national or regional tourist boards represent an indispensable support in a pilot's career. This happens more frequently when a particular area has not historically been home to a large number of athletes. In such scenarios there are often no companies willing to be directly involved in investing in the sports sector and it is therefore necessary for pilots to resort to other avenues. Sometimes the tourism department can act as a collector to coordinate local realities in defining a homogeneous strategy in supporting a campaign.
Some Examples: Car
In 2011 Panama's Tourism Authority has invested around half a million dollars to promote the country in Europe and attract tourists from the old continent. In fact, the Colombian driver Steven Goldstein raced with the colors of the local flag on the overalls and on the bodywork of his 2 cars. Specifically, a Ferrari F430 GT3 and a Maserati Granturismo MC GT4. The same year, Sebastián Saavedra, a pilot originally from Bogota, was able to wear the colors of his city thanks to the investment of the Colombian capital. To publicize the eighteenth edition of the FIFA U-20 World Cup, a campaign was created, summarized by the claim "Bogotá es Mundial”. Conquest Racing's Dallara Honda was therefore able to compete in the IZOD IndyCar Series races in an entirely yellow-red-blue livery.
Kessel Racing Team, always alongside Ferrari in the development of GT cars, entered into a partnership with a ski resort in 2019. The Swiss team took part in several GT3 class races with its 488 in a color decorated with the writing "St. Moritz”. The Swiss town took advantage of the visibility guaranteed by the events dedicated to this type of car, usually populated by managers and gentlemen drivers. The car also remained on display in the city center throughout the Christmas period to maximize the resonance of the operation.
The Peruvian driver Ramon Ferreyros brought his homeland to the world stage thanks to rallies. In 2002 his Mitsubishi EVO VII Group N sported the “Visit Peru” on the sides during the Tour de Corse. Ferreyros won their group on that occasion.
It is quite difficult to remember drivers or teams from Sri Lanka. Precisely for this reason the contribution of the local tourist organization has allowed Dilantha Malagamuwa to make space for itself in motorsport. His Porsche 911 with which he raced in the 2007 Carrera Cup bears the eye-catching national insignia accompanied by the slogan on the bodywork Visit Sri Lanka. In 2020, to further seal the relationship between Dilantha and his country, his Team Dilango officially received state sponsorship to compete in the Lamborghini Super Trofeo Europe Championship.
"Visit Florida” is the name of a promotional campaign created by the US State Tourism Commission. This initiative found great resonance in motorsport thanks to the multi-year sponsorship of the Spirit of Daytona Racing team. The collaboration took place first within the Grand-Am Rolex Series and later in the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship. The partnership has been at the center of controversy due to the change in leadership of the Sunshine State which has called into question the multi-million dollar investment.
In 2021, on the occasion of the Nascar Xfinity Series race at the Las Vegas Motor Speedway, Tommy Joe Martins' Martins Motorsports car was sponsored by Discover Denton. This organization works to attract visitors and investors to the town of Denton, Texas. Specifically, the idea of having such media coverage is due to the launch of the new one place. Remaining in oval racing but moving down a category, in the Automobile Racing Club of America's (ARCA) Menard's Series West, Christian Rose brought the colors of the West Virginia with the distinctive New River Gorge Bridge on the hood. The support comes directly from the state Department of Tourism and aims to expand the area's tourist appeal.
Julia Ballario's career in the world of stars and stripes racing has received a notable boost thanks to Visit Argentina. The country's first woman to race in the United States made her Pro Mazda debut in 2014 with hopes of a future in the Indycar Series. The circumstance did not then materialize and the girl returned to the national championships.
The promotional campaign “Visit Romania” was developed mainly in the rally field. The brand ambassador, if we want to define him that way, was the icon of the discipline François Delecour. Initially - 2012 - the brand made its appearance on a Kronos Racing Ford Fiesta WRC in the first round of the World Championship. With the same car he then competed in the International Rally Championship for 2 seasons, subsequently joining it - from 2014 - with a Porsche 911 GT3 in the FIA R/GT Cup championship with Richard Tuthill's Team.
Sometimes the link between a campaign and a pilot can lead to the opening of a real path. Just think of what Adrian Fernandez's career in Champ Car meant. Thanks to a total of 8 victories and the title he almost missed in 2000, the driver brought the logo around the United States Visit Mexico giving it great visibility and allowing many compatriots to access the most prestigious categories of the stars and stripes motorpost. The colorful graphics of Visit Mexico City, a similar campaign, characterized Mario Dominguez's Dallara in 2008 in the Indycar championship. The Pacific Coast Motorsports team car enjoyed the support of the Central American country to expand its reputation on the continent and it was no coincidence that that year it moved from Champ Car to the IRL to compete in the Indianapolis 500.
Andreas Laskaratos was the first Greek driver to race in the Le Mans Series. The president of the National Tourism Organization Dimitris Fraggakis saw it as an excellent opportunity to promote the country in an international arena. Therefore, from 2020 the Ligier JS P320 hosts the brand Visit Greece on the bonnet.
The Spanish Tourism Committee has opted to use the banners present on the circuit as a platform to propose the brand Visit Spain during some stages of the world championship at the beginning of the last decade. Other states do or have done the same in the recent past: think for example of Visit Argentina in various stages of the MotoGP and Superbike championships, Visit Portugal in F1 and so on. Curiously, however, in the Iberian case we have to go back to 1977 to find the first example of tourism promotion. In that year Emilio de Villota (father of the late Maria) entered the Formula 1 Championship with an old Mclaren M23 supported by the national airline Iberia and with a conspicuous Visit Spain writing on the wing. This writing, although modified, will be visible again in 1982, when the Spanish driver manages to have the wheel of a private March.
The Euroformula is one of the categories that make up the GT Open offer. Inside you can find single-seaters from various more or less recent championships: among them there is also one of the cars that competed in the Superleague Formula which we talked about in this article. Since this is the car that ran in 2011 under the banner of Brazil, it carries the brand on the sidepods Visit Manaus flanked by the logo of the Football World Cup which would have been held in Brazil in 2014.
In the four-year period 2002-2003-2004-2005 the Team Abruzzo by Giordano Cerigioni took part in the World Championship in the 125 and 250 classes. Stefano Perugini, Max Sabbatani, Anthony West, Johan Stiegefelt, Youichi Ui, Gino Borsoi and Andrea Ballerini were his standard bearers. Enrico Caporale, at the time Enrico Caporale, president of the Abruzzo tourism promotion body, made a considerable budget available for the sponsorship, around 350.000 euros per year.
Among the "freshest" initiatives we find the one between the Ministry of Tourism and Creative Economy of Indonesia and Team Gresini: this relationship includes the presence of the "" logo on the Desmosedici GP of Enea Bastianini and Fabio Di GiannantonioWonderful Indonesia”, sealing the election of the Italian team as brand ambassadors of the Asian country. The brand specifically is located in the white lower part of the fins on the side of the fairing. Gresini Racing had always followed this path with its MotoE division: in 2019 and 2020, in fact, the bike of Matteo Ferrari, Lorenzo Savadori and Alessandro Zaccone presented the blue-green color of Trentino, following the agreement stipulated with the Autonomous Province of Trento . The idea behind the partnership that gave birth to the Team Trentino Gresini was to underline the values of the territory, nature and ecology by associating them with the greenest category of the two-wheel panorama.
In 2018 one of the major Indian states, theAndhra Pradesh (also known as “Sunrise State”) has decided to become the official sponsor of the CGBM Evolution team in Moto 2. Iker Lecuona and Sam Lowes brought the KTMs to the track in the colors of the Indian flag: green, white, orange and black, with the the region's tourist logo highlighted on the sides.
In the 2010 season, the Tenerife tourism board partnered with the Sito Pons team to create the Tenerife 40 Pons. Thanks to its role as title sponsor, the Canary Island was able to occupy most of the fairings, suits, helmets, trucks and in general a good part of the hospitality. The main color was blue, the official commercial color of the country. It was directly the Prime Minister of the time, Ricardo Melchior Navarro, together with the Minister of Tourism, José Manuel Bermúdez, who underlined the importance of the operation with a view to the global promotion of the island. For the record, the team, which developed the Pons Kalex internally, came in seventh place in the manufacturers' standings. Sergio Gadea finished in seventeenth place, Axel Pons in thirty-third.
Visit Malaysia it is a slogan that has long been present on motorsport circuits. If initially this brand was mainly visible in trackside banners - especially during the local Grand Prix - in more recent years it has moved to the vehicles involved in the race. For example on the Yamaha M1 of Team Petronas in 2020. Last year, however, the writing was clearly visible in the lower part of the fairings of Team Ajo's motorbikes in both Moto2 and Moto3.
If you know other examples you can mention them in the comments so as to further enrich this content. Inside the blog you can find other analyzes and articles on the world of sponsorships in motorsport.