Apparently, there are many motorsport competitions out there. I understand I can run, say, a cricket league in Russia. As long as I have enough people to compete and a lawn, I don't need much funding, be it from sponsors or spectators. What I don't understand is: How can there be so many motorsport championships, given that it's pretty expensive compared to other sports?

I'm not talking about flagship series like Formula 1, NASCAR or Rallye World Championship. I'm talking about all those weird small series at least I have never heard about. In my view, racing is expensive. You need cars, you have to rent a race track, you need mechanics, etc. How can these championships pay off if you have no or hardly media coverage and maybe a few people watching at the track? Two possible answers emerge to me.

  1. There are plenty of motorsports fans I am just not aware of
  2. Most of these series indeed do not pay off, but are used as a marketing vehicle (pun intended :) ) for car manufacturers.

Does somebody have some deeper information on this, preferably with some facts?


Start from the premise that there are two reasons for motorsport: for profit, and for sheer enjoyment.

At the incredibly low cost end, there are various motorsport series round the world. They are really not expensive, but there is not much prize money either - people do it for fun, for bragging rights, and loads of other social reasons, but you are right that individuals get sponsored by vehicle and spares manufacturers. This sponsorship comes because those series are very popular, and also there is a step in to higher level competitions.

At the top end you have things like Nascar and Formula 1 - incredibly high cost, but massive winnings to be made if you are successful. So as an aspiration, drivers can see the attraction of working through lower series and formula in order to gain success, fame and fortune. So there is no shortage of drivers. Quite the opposite. And by the time things get expensive, they have already invested a lot of time and money so it is just a logical progression.

And fans love motorsport. Partly it's the risk - crashes happen - but also the noise, the speed, the watching something so close to the edge that many cannot even get close to. It's an adrenaline sport.

So the simple answer is: there is money in it, and there are people who want to race. Far too many for just a small number of series.

As an example, I'll race anything with engines, a sail or wings. Yes, it's expensive, but I love it, so that's why I do it.

  • thanks for your answer. So one part of the answer is that in lower tier series, it's the participants themselves who fund their (relatively expensive) hobby?
    – E. Sommer
    Apr 1 '19 at 10:23
  • Almost - I'd say it's the participants who fund their relatively inexpensive hobby, with support from sponsors, who use it for marketing/advertising
    – Rory Alsop
    Apr 1 '19 at 11:36

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