Motorsport has some tough challenges ahead and it’s going to need to learn some lessons from other industries who have successfully overcome similar hurdles. So, if you’re a motorsport enthusiast currently working in another business read on to see if your skills are in demand!
Bigger Problems Than Covid
Like most other industries, motorsport has had a tough run of late. The pandemic saw the wheels come off an industry powered by fans and global travel, and despite many racing series having completed a full season in 2021, the commercial and logistical issues created by Covid have had a huge and lasting impact.
But motorsport has even bigger problems than Covid. The issues facing the industry are numerous. For instance, how do you take a global travelling circus driven by exhaust fumes and make it environmentally friendly? How do you keep racing competitive? How do you attract fans and keep them loyal? Brexit’s impact on logistics and recruitment. The list goes on. Fixing the biggest problems in motorsport won’t be easy but the industry is not alone in facing many of these challenges.
It’s always better to learn from the mistakes and successes of others and many other industries have successfully met these same challenges head on. Others have been disrupted by new technologies and working practices which have radicalised processes for the better. There is synergy between motorsport and other industries so perhaps it’s time motorsport leveraged the lessons of others without having to learn the hard way.
The Problem with Motorsport
The motorsport industry has inherently recruited from within, and for good reason! Motorsport is a unique industry, and the demands of the average motorsport job are huge. Regardless of the racing series, the race calendar is gruelling. Most championships start testing in February, with the season starting in April and ending in or around November or earlier for domestic series. That’s fitting in a whole year’s work into just eight months. The pace is frenetic whether you’re a race engineer, logistics coordinator, team manager or purchasing administrator. Most industries simply don’t have the same level of pressure as motorsport, and this can make candidates hard to find.
When you recruit from within you always run the risk of the talent pool drying up. For instance, there’s currently a distinct lack of management level candidates with motorsport experience. There’s also a shortage of race engineers familiar with electric powertrain technology. To address this, firms may need to start looking further afield for the best talent.
Motorsport has synergy with many other sectors. If you work in one of the following industries, chances are you have transferable skills valuable to a motorsport business.
The Automotive Industry
Think Toyota Gazoo Racing, Mercedes-AMG Petronas, M-Sport Ford. The automotive industry may seem like a devolved version of motorsport but it’s actually the older and richer brother. The consumer arms of many brands help to fund innovations in motorsport, drive fan engagement and raise brand awareness. You’ll find many of the same manufacturers, suppliers and partnerships in both industries. Brand loyalty and innovation are at the heart of the automotive industry and a knowledge of the commercial side of business will stand you in good stead to make a move into motorsport.
The automotive industry is very target driven. The brand comes first, and all efforts must be made to protect it. If you currently work in the automotive industry in as a technician or in an operational capacity or are involved in marketing, business development or supply chain, motorsport needs you!
If you are an experienced vehicle tech with a main dealer, chances are you’ve been sent on a training course to deal with hybrid and electric vehicles. This will stand you in good stead in motorsport and give the rate at which new rules and classes are being developed, your skills and knowledge can only help you get a job in motorsport. A while back, we wrote a quick guide to Getting into Motorsport for engineers, mechanics and vehicle technicians. Moving from automotive into motorsport may require some additional training but we promise you, you’ll never look back!
From a business perspective, the NMA’s Business of Motorsport Master’s degree has appealed to quite a few people from currently working in main dealer and manufacturer roles. The course can make your commercial automotive skills fit for purpose in the world of motorsport.
If you went into the motor trade straight from school and work for a manufacturer or large dealer group, you may find that they offer management training programmes. Many also hold an ‘Investors in People’ award meaning that they are committed to your Continued Professional Development so it’s worth checking out the training programmes available through your employer.
Sport Management & Law
All sports have their own rulebook. Once you understand one, it’s easier to transition to another. If you are a sports management graduate or have worked for a governing body, professional association or club, motorsport businesses need you and your skills!
Sports management roles vary massively in motorsport. From governance and event management to marketing and sports analysis, sport management training will be highly valued by most motorsport businesses.
Each year, the rules of motorsport become more complex. You’ll need a legal brain if you want to work in the governance and contractual side of the sport so anyone with legal training and a love for motorsport would do well to look at the job opportunities available.
If you already have relevant sport management or sports law training or experience, the NMA MA Business of Motorsport degree can help you to make this experience specific to the motorsport industry. It covers commercial topics in detail such as Ethics, Change Management, Branding and Financial Management.
The parallels between motorsport and FMCG environments are huge. Both are fast-faced, time and trend sensitive and based around brands. If you work in a fast-moving consumer goods business, chances are you’ll have valuable and transferrable skills to fit into the motorsport industry, especially if you’ve been involved in developing sustainability strategies.
Whether you currently work in the supply chain, retail or wholesale side of FMCG you’ll be used to working to strict deadlines and under immense pressure. You’ll be used to strict brand guidelines and working with global partners and manufacturers. This could set you up well for working for a big motorsport brand.
You’ll want to highlight the transferable skills you have when you do your CV as well as your passion….
Data Technology & Sustainability
Any industry which relies heavily on innovation must also rely heavily on data. Motorsport is no exception. if you’re currently working in any kind of data analytics role, motorsport needs you! From team roles assessing vehicle performance analytics to marketing analysis jobs, there are plenty of motorsport data jobs available.
Motorsport is also an industry of contradiction. So much effort goes into innovation in the factory and on track that often it’s slow to adopt the most progressive practices behind the scenes. As the inevitable happens and the industry is forced to adopt more sustainable practices almost overnight, experience needs to be borrowed from other industries. If you’re working in sustainable technologies, data science, FinTech or any other disruptive industry role, we feel sure that motorsport could benefit from your experience.
One thing motorsport has on its side is passion. Motorsport fans come in all shapes and sizes. From CEOs to solicitors, journalists to warehouse staff, you’re bound to find a motorsport fan in almost every business. Having a passion for the industry you work in means that you’ll go the extra mile. You’ll want to keep learning, pushing, and improving if you love what you do.
Being able to combine your passion and day job also means that you’ll never really feel like you’re working. We’re not saying that every day will be fun or easy but finding a job you love means you’ll never dread a Monday morning again. Motorsport does mean working weekends and long hours but any extra hours or days you work will be spent doing something you enjoy. That, in itself, is worth its weight in gold!
So, if you’re working in another industry and would love to work in motorsport consider your transferable skills and start applying for jobs in motorsport! Don’t forget to show your passion for the motorsport industry on your CV or covering letter.