1994 the COVENTRY AUTOMOTIVE RALLY TEAM have competed with their two Mini
Coopers in major UK national rally series and over a dozen FIA World and
European Rally Championship events.
The team can justifiably claim the best record of any team competing with
a modern Mini and the COVENTRY AUTOMOTIVE RALLY TEAM have become well
known throughout Europe. When the Mini was re-homologated for international
rallying in 1994 the COVENTRY AUTOMOTIVE RALLY TEAM responded by preparing
a Group A Mini for that year's RAC Rally, going on to achieve the first
of a series of creditable results on WRC Events. A second Mini was prepared
just over a year later, this time to Group N specifications, this car
also has been used extensively for international events, debuting on the
1997 Rally Finland.
The first entry on the Rally Finland, formerly the 1000 Lakes Rally, was
made in 1995, and with the exception of 2000, the COVENTRY AUTOMOTIVE
RALLY TEAM have competed every year since. "I used to dream of spectating
in Finland" team driver Trevor Godwin states, "now I have competed
on the event six times!"
In the seven years that the team have been rallying Mini's, entries on
the Rally Finland, Rally Great Britain, Rallye Portugal and Rallye Catalunya,
all World Rally Championship Events, have been made. Additionally The
South Swedish Rally and the Rally Hunsruck, European Rally Championship
rounds have also seen the team competing.
Trevor Godwin is the team driver and is the owner of Coventry Automotive.
He has been rallying since the 60's with many trophies to show for his
efforts. Trevor is a well known figure in the national rallying scene
and along with the Mini's has enjoyed a keen following in recent years.
David Wyer is an Emissions Engineer with Jaguar Cars and has been Trevor's
co-driver from theoutset. It was with David that Trevor first competed
on the RAC Rally in 1986 and the pair competed together on the first overseas
event in 1995. More recent recruits to the co-driving role have been Ian
Harrop a Development Engineer with Zytek and Rick Spurgeon a Product Specialist
with HORIBA. Both Ian and Rick have also competed with Trevor at all levels,
as well as fulfilling support roles as necessary, enhancing the strong
team spirit has been developed over the years. On the support side Roger
Cooke is the service manager for the major events, and is supported by
Ambrose Butcher, Nimrod and Phil Leeson. All of the support crew are long
standing members of the team and have a wealth of experience at the top
levels of motorsport.
What is more quintessentially British than a Mini Cooper? The small car
with the big heart and an international reputation. The COVENTRY AUTOMOTIVE
RALLY TEAM are proud to present modern day Mini Coopers in contemporary
rallying. Wherever our Mini's compete they turn heads and attract attention,
be it a basketball court (1998 Rallye Catalunya scrutineering) or Hafren
in deepest Wales. During the Mini's rallying heyday in the 60's this was
the car to drive, much as today's Impreza's, Lancer's and Focus'. Obviously
with limited power the Mini cannot compete with today's rally cars, some
of which are up to 4x as powerful, but it can still turn in impressive
times on intricate, twisty stages – despite the age of the design
the Mini is still as nimble as ever!
Modern day international rallying is being radically re-formatted and
TV coverage on terrestrial channels will treble with the switch from BBC
to Channel 4 in 2002. In addition there is a promise of an interactive
presentation to the viewer – these are exciting times in this respect.
The events that we compete in are regularly covered on BBC, Sky and Eurosport.
In the past the COVENTRY AUTOMOTIVE RALLY TEAM have been prominently featured
by radio stations, especially in Finland.
The Rally Great Britain is the biggest live event in the country and attracts
over 2½ million spectators. TV viewing figures have identified
an audience of 2 million – this is 20% of the total UK audience.
There are regular editorials of our activities in the national motorsport
press and a regular column in Mini World magazine covered our progress
through recent seasons.
The spectator audience at Rallies is principally comprised of males in
the age range 25-45 years, with a definitive interest in performance cars
and especially motorsport. Many of this audience will have an interest
in the engineering aspects of the competing cars and often are employed
in this area both in the aftermarket and by motor manufacturers. The enthusiast
can often be also be typically described as an affluent, technical, professional.
Apart from the superficial interests of the "boy racer" who
is often interested in accessories that will improve the appearance of
his car, many of the sport's enthusiasts are curious about more technical
aspects and have a deep interest in technology in a more general sense.
Promotional Opportunities are presented in many ways apart from the obvious
decal on the competitor's car and represent an exceptionally cost effective
means of reaching a well-defined target audience. Media coverage of Rallying
is now increasing at an unprecedented rate and recent figures show that
the worldwide television audience has trebled over the last five years,
the figure of 8 billion viewers annually has recently been stated by the
FIA. As a promotional venture the sponsor is represented at all times
– not just when the car is "on stage" but travelling to
and from an event, in service areas, on link road sections and at pre-event
rally shows. A sponsor's goods or services may be indirectly endorsed
by the Rally Team in that equipment used can imply quality and reliability
especially when it is demonstrably so. Sponsor Profiles cannot be categorised
in a total sense, it is only necessary to look at the variety of goods
and services that have been promoted by rally teams at all levels over
Rally Team sponsorship by suppliers of certain products and services can
relate directly to the activity eg car accessories(especially performance
parts), fuels, lubricants and motoring related services such asinsurance
or breakdown organisations. On the other hand what are the items that
are important to the spectator in an indirect way? Good examples of this
could be personal computers, HiFi, DIY products or Internet Service providers
where an unexpected prompt could prove to be a timely reminder or sow
a seed in a spectator's mind.
Presentation of the product is quite subtle when a Rally Team is used
by a sponsor, nonetheless it can be effective and has certain distinct
advantages. Consider hard sell via TV advertising where it is arguable
that you may get the coverage in terms of audience, but is interest and
attention stimulated? If not then TV advertising is an exceptionally expensive
means of achieving nothing and produces no sales result.
Very often we see TV adverts for breakfast cereals, but do these change
which are bought as a direct result ? Probably not, the best reaction
that can be achieved will be "hmm that sounds different…"
but, regardless, the selection of the cereal brand will undoubtedly made
at the point-of-sale. When you are being bombarded by advertisements or
hard sell are you receptive? The answer must surely be "no"
the saturation is distracting and as we all know downright irritating
at times. Contrast a rally spectator, quietly enjoying an eventwith little
other distraction, and the name of a potential supplier to a planned purchase
is presented, surely the probability of that potential supplier's name
being noted and remembered is much better.
CAN BE SOLD
Anything that is pertinent to the audience, both for personal and professional
purposes. By understanding the lifestyle of the spectator some products
can be identified:
Motor Insurance – in some respects a necessary evil, but when in
mind of matters automotive the audience is likely to be receptive.
Mobile Communications – a vital link for all Rally Teams, to update
on progress, expedite problem solving and plan remedial actions. Since
many Rallies take place in remote locations and the ability to communicate
(or not) is a very practical demonstration of the service quality provided.
This is distinctly accentuated when mobile A functions and mobile B is
Toiletries for men – an ideal opportunity, can lead to a sale from
the basis of curiosity " hmm… I wonder what that's like?"
Computer Services – accepting that many spectators will be technically
minded almost anything related to IT can benefit, from software, to hardware,
internet service provision and even related publications. Many people
nowadays construct their own computer hardware and are very enthusiastic
about learning of new devices, why not provide a reminder of what could
Life Assurance – the age group of the spectators will in many cases
be establishing families and embarking upon provisions for the future,
such as life assurance and pensions. Promotion in Rallysport arenas can
certainly register alternatives that may have been overlooked in normal
Children's Interests – items that the youngsters may register such
as sportswear, designer labels, toys, computer games, confectionery, resorts
and theme parks are just a few examples. Often children accompany their
spectating parent(s), what better way to grab their attention?
Holidays and Travel – usually an important aspect of the spectator's
annual expense and alternatives are always worthy of consideration.
Motoring Accessories – from simple valeting products to a whole
plethora of car accessories, an endorsement is bound to be noticed.
Motoring Services - in-car navigation systems, traffic warning devices,
national breakdown organisations are but a few examples.
Transport and Shipping – travel to and from overseas events presents
the opportunity to promote such companies, whether directly involved or
not, especially if international operations are offered.
Examples are many and those given are non-exclusive, the reaction to Rallysport
promotion is likely to be positive but difficult to quantify. Overall
a cost effective, selectively targeted promotion with a high percentage
conversion (compared to other media promotions) is likely to be achieved.
Secondary benefits – a sponsor's staff can relate to the Rally Team,
without necessarily becoming directly involved. "Team building"
and "bonding" are terms that are prone to mis-use and often
glibly applied in the wrong context, however, such a sponsorship can focus
attention and generate a common interest. Sponsorship of a Rally team
can be made in many ways, as outlined, and can be tailored to a specific
requirement. Why not discuss this in more detail? Contact COVENTRY AUTOMOTIVE,
we will be pleased to help you decide what is appropriate to you.
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