The Big Machine Vodka Brickyard 400, a NASCAR Cup Series race, takes place at Indianapolis Motor Speedway in Indianapolis, Indiana on Sunday, August 15, 2021 (/ 15/08/21).
Fans can watch the event for free via a fuboTV trial.
Here’s what you need to know:
What: Big Machine Vodka Brickyard 400
Which: NASCAR Cup Series
When: Sunday August 15, 2021
Time: 1 p.m. ET
Or: Indianapolis Motor Circuit
Channel search: Verizon Fios, AT&T U-verse, Comcast Xfinity, Spectrum / Charter, Optimum / Altice, Coxswain, DIRECTV, Plate, Hulu, fuboTV, Sling.
Direct: fuboTV (free trial)
Rick Hendrick dispelled any doubts that motorsport marketing is still effective when his auto sales group purchased the sponsorship rights until 2023 for NASCAR title contender Kyle Larson.
With few companies ready to back Larson upon his return from a nearly a year suspension for using a racial slur, Hendrick put his dealership website on the hood of Larson’s car. Larson started winning races, which company officials said drove traffic to HendrickCars.com which brought in $ 1.8 million in leads and over $ 5 million in exposure to the television.
“We’re having the best year we’ve ever had,” said Hendrick, owner of the country’s largest private concession. “The market is flamboyant.
When motorsports started to gain traction in the 1980s, the motto of auto dealers was still “Win Sunday, Sell Monday”. But the economic downturn of 2008 nearly devastated the auto market, and NASCAR’s growing popularity began to level off. The marketing slogan was suddenly watered down to something more like: “Win Sunday, hope a customer comes Monday”.
Even so, automakers haven’t strayed from motorsport as a leading selling platform. It has never been more evident than this year, as spending picked up after the pandemic crushed sales in 2020. Motorsport remains an essential marketing tool for businesses to show how racing technology is moving from the mainstream. track to the street.
General Motors launched a special edition Corvette during a racing weekend in the shadow of its Detroit headquarters. Lexus, Ferrari and Acura have done the same for their new performance vehicles at IMSA sports car events. At a NASCAR race in Nashville, Ford used his fully electric Mach-E to pace the peloton and used his high-performance GT model to thrill VIPs for a few laps of the track.
The Mercedes-AMG GT Black Series was unveiled in June at the Concours Club in Miami. Although the sticker price is $ 326,000, the car ranks in the first group of legal sports cars. His crossover appeal was underlined when he debuted alongside his Mercedes-AMG GT3 race car which placed 1-2 in class at this year’s Rolex 24 At Daytona endurance race. .
“We know from our customers of all ages, even if they are in the digital world of racing, which is very, very good, that racing is a point of proof of engineering capacity, of validation of the car itself, and safety in many cases, “said Mark Reuss, president of General Motors.” The two-way technical things we do in all of our racing programs end up in our production cars. .
“The customer cares about this and motorsport is extremely exciting to watch and participate in, so it’s a natural marketing space,” he said.
IHS Markit automotive analyst Stephanie Brinley said automakers reap many benefits from their racing programs, ranging from the torture tests of new technology to a largely unmeasurable impact on brand perception.
People love to see the competition and encourage their brands, she said, and that translates into loyalty when it comes to buying a new vehicle. This applies not only to racing fans who love to compete, but also to people who do not follow sports.
“It gives owners a reason to promote their brand. It helps create an emotional connection, ”said Brinley. “It’s really elusive, but it’s also a key part of retaining and maintaining brand loyalty.”
Automakers can use the race track to push new technology in ways they can’t replicate on their own test tracks, Brinley said. While there may not be a direct link to mainstream vehicles, testing does influence vehicles sold to the public.
“This is an opportunity to put vehicles in difficult positions that are not necessarily 100% under their control compared to a normal test track situation,” said Brinley.
Ford Motor Co. mentions the 1901 “Sweepstakes” car built by Henry Ford and Oliver Barthel as a racing car to help restore Ford’s reputation after its first unsuccessful attempt to own a car business. The contest won its first outing against an established driver and car, and the publicity helped Ford launch what is now the world’s fourth-largest auto company.
For Henry Ford, the slogan for victory on Sunday had a bigger change in that it meant he could start a new business on Monday.
“You saw why Henry Ford used competitions – for marketing, brand awareness, innovation and technical learning and he made a successful business out of it,” said Mark Rushbrook, Ford Global Director and Head of Ford Performance Motorsports. “The core of it still holds in time from that point until we are today for the same reasons and effectively.”
There is still an important competitive element, as noted by David Salters, who was named president of Honda Performance Development last October.
HPD runs all Honda and Acura high performance racing programs in North America, and Salter highlighted the IndyCar race at Mid-Ohio in July when Josef Newgarden in a Chevrolet edged out Colton Herta in a Honda for pole by 0.0031. second.
“You can know where you are as a company, in every qualifying session and at the end of every race,” said Salter. “Between two human beings, two different powertrains, between people setting up the chassis in different ways, and somehow one of them did it faster in the blink of an eye. eye.
“We start to sweat when this happens. We go back and look at the data and try to analyze where the differences are, and then we integrate it into our business. “
Almost every series awards a constructors’ championship at the end of each season – it’s called a constructor title in Formula 1 – and it’s a vital tool for automakers.
Henry Ford’s great-grandson Edsel Ford II still believes that beating the competition is the best way to sell cars.
“I’m old school, so I guess I still think if you win on Sunday you’re doing your best to sell on Monday,” Ford told AP. “Winning is so important to us and we do our best to market our wins to our customers, to our fans, and we hope they come on a Monday and buy a Ford.”
(The Associated Press contributed to this report.)