Bryce Miller is going against the trend, retaining long-term race sponsorship agreements despite the gloomy U.S. economy. The Summit, N.J., driver will compete on his home turf this weekend, in a Grand-Am Rolex Sports Car Series race at New Jersey Motorsports Park in Millville, N.J. He'll be backed by a suite of guests representing his sponsors Marquis Jet, IPC and Total Lubricants.
Miller and Dane Cameron of Sonoma, Calif., will drive the No. 30 Mazda RX-8 prepared by Racers Edge Motorsports in the two-hour 45-minute race on the 2.25-mile road course, scheduled for Sunday, May 3. In addition to his track and team duties, Miller will spend time with 100 guests, giving them a glimpse behind the scenes of professional sports-car racing. Both on-track and off-track action are just a fraction of the effort he puts into the partnerships that enable him to race.
"I'm really excited that our sponsors signed on again with us. We've had great relationships with them and we really appreciate their involvement at this time, with the economy the way it is," he said. "It's important to keep your sponsor relationships healthy and build value for them, because that's what drives the program and makes the car go around the track. We work really hard to make it work for everyone and hopefully post good results that get their brand out there in a positive light.
"New Jersey will be a good event for our sponsors, because each of them is headquartered in the New York metro area. It will provide a platform for them to entertain clients and bring prospects to network. By the end of the weekend, the hope is that all the sponsors will have gained a customer or furthered relationships with their employees. That's where we try to build the value for the partnership."
Marquis Jet, which provides flight time on the NetJets private fleet, is one of those partners. The company's vice-president of sales, Manny Barreto, believes racing provides an excellent link to current and future customers.
"The thing that Marquis looks at is not just the relationship with Bryce, but it's also the fact that the Marquis brand is in an environment with the right demographic," he said. "People who see our involvement in motor racing – and specifically in the Grand-Am market – are also looking at private jet travel. It's a win-win for everyone."