CAN: Cote Racing news 2010-05-16

Race car driver uses Facebook to fuel his dream MONTREAL, May 16 2010 - Faced with the difficult task of finding sponsors for his upcoming Canadian Touring Car Championship (CCTCC) race season, Montreal-based race car driver JC Cote came up with...

Race car driver uses Facebook to fuel his dream

MONTREAL, May 16 2010 - Faced with the difficult task of finding sponsors for his upcoming Canadian Touring Car Championship (CCTCC) race season, Montreal-based race car driver JC Cote came up with a novel idea: to use the power of social media to offer anyone and everyone the chance to become a sponsor.

A few weeks before his first race, Cote put a message on his Facebook and Twitter accounts, offering friends the chance to have their picture appear on his race car for the modest sum of $5. Friends and family quickly responded, only too happy to contribute to JC's endeavour. Soon, however, he started receiving pledges from people he didn't know, friends of friends of friends, who were attracted by the idea of having their picture or their kids' picture on a pro race car.

Within days of his initial post, more than 50 people had signed on, some offering considerably more than the proposed $5 pledge. Some even turned it into a competition, seeing if they could outbid one another.

"I guess this is the long tail of sponsorship. Through social media, we get to reach the little guy with a passion for racing - or for seeing his picture whizz by at 230 km/h," jokes JC.

Cote admits that the idea grew out of his frustration with the lengthy process and red tape accompanying traditional sponsorship requests aimed at large corporations.

"Don't get me wrong, major partners are important to us and we are thankful to those like Redux Media, the Team 990 and Xtreme Airbrush Designs who've signed up, but with the first race only a couple weeks away, we still had a long way to go. Facebook gives the speed and immediacy to reach hundreds of potential sponsors in a matter of hours," says Cote.

Cote's outside the box thinking does not stop at social media. The preparations for his upcoming season are being filmed by a crew for use as a potential TV series, chronicling the challenges that come with a late start on the road to a career in autosports.

"Racing is usually either a young man's or a rich man's sport. At 38, I am neither. That's why I approach this from a different angle; I know that it's now or never. But I've proven myself on the track and have competed with some of the best drivers in the world. Now I need to get a full season under my belt in a recognized series. After that, who knows?"

This summer, Cote will race car #3 in the Castrol Canadian Touring Car Championship (CCTCC) throughout the Montreal-Toronto corridor, supporting The Indy Toronto and the GP Trois-Rivi0x00e8res weekends as part of its seven race season. He'll also drive in the F1600 open-wheel series at his home track, the Circuit Gilles-Villeneuve, in support races of the F1 and Nascar weekends. Between both the CCTCC and the F1600 events Cote will compete in front of cumulative crowds of around one million race fans this year.

-Source: Cote Racing

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