SPORT - INTERVIEW
Friday, February 15, 2019
SPORT - INTERVIEW
by Meryem Aksoy
To understand why NASCAR is the most popular motorsport organization in the US, it is not enough to watch a single race from start to finish. Colorful and powerful cars, stressed team managers, speed, noise, concrete walls, and daring drivers on the track are visible sides of NASCAR. However, the teams are continuously working throughout the year to ensure the financing of this whole process. We are not aware of the sponsorship and partnership deals until we see the sponsor brands on the cars in during the new season. Jocelyn Fecteau is the owner of Team JF77. He, as the team owner, is responsible for both sportive success as well as the financial part of the process. So, in order to learn more about the importance of sponsorship for NASCAR teams, I talked with Jocelyn Fecteau. Enjoy this interview.
Jocelyn, before talking about sponsorship, I would like to learn more about you. When did your interest in motorsport begin? What inspired you?
Born and raised in a car industry environment as my dad worked in a car dealership, also involved with a dirt racing team where I used to spend time with them at the shop and most Fridays at the race track... that was for sure the beginning of it. Most important... let's not forget Gilles Villeneuve, a big influence for a lot of kids born in the '70s... he really was a true inspiration for me!
How did you decide to pursue a career as a pro racing driver? When did you participate in your first race? Do you remember how does it feel?
I guess with a lot of work and passion, you wake up one day and you are part of a PRO series. OK, it looks simple like that, but every step towards a pro series is important! The first race was in a Karting series when there were no worries... first real big race was in 2007 at GP3R, famous road course in the city of Trois-Rivieres where big names made history... I felt blessed and very impressed!!! Oh, I forgot to mention this track is surrounded by a concrete wall all around... that makes you feel quite nervous :)
Could you tell us about your life outside the circuit and garage? Who is Jocelyn Fecteau?
Married and father of a wonderful 14-year-old daughter, also really invest into my professional career, studied in Automotive Marketing & Business Management... so you can wrap it up as ... I'm a real passionate car guy, that love being with family and friend and always ready for the next challenge! BTW, everything that runs with gas!!!
NASCAR Car of Team JF77
How did you decide to establish your own team JF77? Could you tell us about JF77?
Before JF77, Media Racing Team was our team name where we used to be 4 racers performing in different series. We decided to join forces since 3 members out of 4 were TV and radio host... I was the only one not known by the public back then. Only 2 of us are still racing... well the other one is Drifting and is now supporting my Nascar race team through is own web radio: IRock247.com, where you can ear some news about our race team JF77, but most importantly... the music is just awesome! Download the app!! JF77 started at the same time we joined the Nascar series in 2014, JF for my initial and the number 77 that I always had in sports... wonder why? Simple enough... 7 letters in each of my first and last name! Now did I influence Valtteri Bottas to start using VB77... I let you decide :)
You have been racing in the NASCAR Pinty's Series since 2014. Could you tell us about your achievements?
After competing in the Canadian Touring Championship, we were out of breath doing 9 races per weekend, all doubleheaders!!! So, the budget was really demanding and the return on visibility for our sponsors was just OK. So at the end of 2013, I had enough information on the cost of running in the Nascar Pinty's series and that it offers way more visibility to our sponsor. Also the name and prestige to be associated with Nascar is key. All that for roughly the same budget... so that was a good decision for our team to move up.
Team JF77 Crew - Éric-Pierre Martel, Michel Fontaine, Sean Scully
What is the importance of sponsors in the continuity and the success of the NASCAR teams? Is it possible to race without sponsors?
Sponsors are crucial for the motorsport, as we all know the talent is only a part of success in racing... money is the key. Unfortunately, a lot of talent will never find the financial resources to demonstrate their talents! Sponsors need to understand that most of the value is outside the race track, and you don't have to be a car addict to be a race fan... Race fans are loyal and supportive... that's how sponsors are able to capitalize on their investment!
Could you tell us about the sponsors and partners of JF77? What are the brands that you collaborate with?
In 2019, Roxor a new off-road vehicle made by Mahindra and build in Detroit, is joining our team as a major sponsor.
Farnham Ale&Lager, EGB Autographique, Irock247.com, pcDupuis.ca, and DOMENO are our other partners and sponsors.
What kind of contributions do sponsor/partner brands provide to the JF77 team?
Beside financial involvement, we need their dedication and good communication of the business goals that they are aiming for.
NASCAR Car of Team JF77
What are the expectations of sponsor brands from the NASCAR teams? Does winning the championship is the only key factor of long-term collaborations?
As mentioned, communication is the key, winning a race is what everyone aims for! Making a sponsor wins in his field of expertise by engaging fans with their brand puts the most team in a winning situation. Goals and expectation need to be set and they should be adapted along the way.
Every brand would like to be a sponsor to a NASCAR team, but it looks like requires big budgets. Is this real? Is not there any sponsorship options for small or medium-sized brands to be a part of a NASCAR team? What is the minimum budget for this?
It could be very expensive if the only thing we rely on is the logo on the race car! This should be taken as an investment, and every sponsor needs to leverage their partnership. We run a small and accessible race team and we focus on making our sponsors win every day ... not only on races days!! We offer collab partnership starting at $5000 ... average price for a full-color page in the metro market newspaper!
Team Crew with Roxor Mahindra - Sean Scully, Éric-Pierre Martel, Michel Fontaine
What are you paying attention to when a new brand contacted you about sponsorship?
What are their goals, are they ready to be involved with our team.... and are they ready to have fun!
Do you always have a space for a new sponsor on your car and suits?
Of course, I have the best race car designer, Jerry Hall, that always make sure that all sponsors are standing out!!
What are the main factors that affect the beginning and continuity of a successful partnership?
Open and active communication, setting goals, dedication, passion and most importantly... FUN!
Do you have any advice for racing drivers who want to pursue a professional career?
Don't be afraid of a sponsor answering NO, that's where your challenge start... don't be afraid to ask why... no matter what time of the year you will contact a sponsor, you'll often get the answer: our budget is already spent... ask and take note when are they doing the budget and who are the decision makers. Oh and be different... you're not the only one calling and asking for money!! Also, buy a suit and attend those business reunions like Chamber of Commerce or charity event... business people are there in a neutral field!
How can our readers follow you on social media?
@JF77Team on Facebook and Instagram
What is next for you?
Getting the #77 ready for the first race in May, still looking for a few sponsors to finalize our season budget.
Thank you Jocelyn for your time.