Tue, Sep 13, 2011
BY CHERYL TAY
Running out of money is the most common reason many drivers – including those with promising talent – stop racing. Companies here remain hesitant about sponsoring motorsport other than Formula One racing.
So local drivers either have to seek funds from foreign sources, or race till they hit self-funding limits.
This year, however, a glimmer of hope has appeared at the grassroot level of motorsport.
AutoInc, an independent broker specialising in sports and luxury cars, took a huge step towards educating companies here about the value of sponsoring motorsport.
The company has committed a six-figure sum to local motorsport and serves as the title sponsor of the Singapore Karting Championship (SKC).
It also provides support to local drivers Yuey Tan in the Porsche Carrera Cup Asia, Gregory Teo in the Ferrari Asia Pacific Challenge, and Gabriella Teo and Kenny Yip in the SKC.
Mr Benjamin Tan (photo above), managing director of AutoInc, said: “Our objective is to introduce motorsport culture to the Singaporean scene.
“We believe the best way to do this is through grassroot motorsport, particularly go- karting at the Singapore Karting Championship.
“The commercial value of motorsport is not properly understood here. I want to bring it up so that people will understand its huge commercial value.”
The 39-year-old added: “Together, we can then build a stronger motorsport scene in Singapore.”
Mr Tan worked in the banking industry for 10 years before quitting the stressful work environment to start AutoInc.
He and his company are trying to achieve something more than just paying for a decal on a racing vehicle.
By sponsoring a race series and creating a driver-development programme, AutoInc is helping to set a path of progression for budding racers. Plans for more motorsport programmes to engage the community are also in the pipeline.
“The beauty of go-karting is that drivers can start at a very young age,” said Mr Tan.
“Through our talent-development programme, drivers can be assured of getting the right foundation, and the SKC can then serve as a platform for them to put all that training to good use.”
The staff of AutoInc also go karting once a week to better understand the sport and the company’s motorsport initiative.
Motorsport has become a modern way to network and is one of the ways companies can utilise their marketing dollars.
Mr Yuey Tan, AutoInc’s most highly sponsored driver, said: “Ben is an old friend and we’ve been talking about moving forward in motorsport for years.
“As the motorsport scene grew, we thought the timing in 2011 made sense.
“It’s fantastic that a company like AutoInc sees the value of branding and motorsport. Hopefully, this will pave the way for more companies to be involved in the development of the motorsport industry.”
*This was first published in my paper.