Car Racing is a very exciting but complex sport to be a part of. In general, the key to success is speed, consistency, precision and keeping a cool head in challenging situations. All of which will still not make you a race driver as you also need funding and sponsors. Mato Homola at FIA WTCR Race of Germany

"... YOU’VE GOT TO BE EVERYWHERE, TV, RADIO, EVEN IN THE FRIDGES OF YOUR FANS LOL."

    - Jaro Homola, Race Team Manager, 15x Slovak Hill Climb Champion

To get sponsors you need to know how to sell yourself and that can be difficult! One way is to be extremely proactive in media outlets to build up your fan base. The more the visibility and user engagement grows the happier the sponsors are!

This case study points out that actual racing is only a piece of the whole equation to successful racing. It focuses on the background work that has been done to enable racing for team Homola Motorsport and race driver Mato Homola.

MY INVOLVEMENT
Started in 2007 and continually involved. In addition to my day job, I invest a lot of free time into the success of this team.

TEAM STRUCTURE
Team Manager - Jaro Homola
Race Driver - Mato Homola
Technical Manager - Jaro Krajci
Design and Digital Media - Ondrej Homola
Media - Tomas Kovac

MAJOR PROJECTS
Team Rebrand, Website Design, Social Media strategies, Sponsor Pitches

Mato Homola won an FIA WTCR race in Portugal
Mato Homola, my brother, after winning his first race in FIA WTCR

The race team

Homola Motorsport is a family operated race team that goes beyond the geographical borders of Slovakia. The team fought for championship titles across Europe and recently it's race driver Mato Homola races around the World in FIA WTCR. The team was established in 1992 and it earned a number of championship titles in Hill Climbing, Rally and Circuit Racing. Since 2016, Homola Motorsport has been operating in the background to support Mato Homola in FIA WTCR.

Team Homola Motorsport

 

Watch FIA WTCR video to understand the scale we operate on.

 

To see the media reach the championship has, read the following report of the FIA WTCR Race of Slovakia below. FIA WTCR REPORT

VIEW A REPORT


My role

As a kid, I spent a number of years proudly watching my dad winning races. Racing was my life and being present at the race events just made my world complete. It became my hobby and an inseparable part of my life. I tried to understand the best strategy, setup, rules and the inner workings of a race car. Me and my brother in front of our father's race car in 1999
Me and my brother in front of our father's race car in 1999

Here is a little backstory: After my dad lost a major sponsor in 2007, we ran into the trouble of having a reduced budget and no media coverage at all. We as a family put our heads together and I volunteered to create an in-house website for our press articles, photos and videos. Understanding the need but having no idea how to create one I still insisted on trying.

It turned out to be a great move. I not only figured out how to build websites, but it kicked off a series of important events. Our team became the pioneer team and leader in Social media in Slovak Racing. We were among the first ones that started a Facebook page, an Instagram account, live videos and behind the scenes YouTube series. The result: a 90k+ fanbase. Me and my brother at Salzburgring in 2017
Fan base of Mato Homola at FIA WTCR Race of Slovakia

Throughout my 10-year involvement, my role touched everything from web design, photography, video editing, communication with media and sponsors, press article newsletters, social media, creating sponsor material and planning promo events. There has been a lot of work done.

My Work

Everything that I have done for Homola Motorsport / Mato Homola was created in my spare time for FREE. I did it for the passion towards motorsport and to help my family becoming successful.

Read below about the most significant rebrand project that I worked on and additionally about other smaller projects that I created.



The Rebrand

As the race team, we believe that branding and a consistent clear message is key to the visibility and awareness. Therefore, in 2016, I made a couple of radical decisions to make our brand even better.

LogoLogo
ColorsColors
TypographyTypography
Voice and ToneVoice and Tone
WebsiteWebsite
Social MediaSocial Media

The Colors and Typography

Red #ff3029 symbolizes the fast and nerve-wracking action that motorsports bring. While black #000 depicts the challenging and dark moments, the white #fff shows that hard work pays off.

These colors in combination with typeface Oswald bring altogether a cohesive racing feeling, that we want our fans to feel.

Typography and Color

Voice and Tone

If Mato Homola wants to appeal to his peers, his communication style should be on a very casual and friendly level. His target group are 15 - 30-year-old Slovaks and Czechs, therefore, the voice and tone need to follow that.

We also needed to consider official media, like press articles. Those need to be written professionally so they can be easily consumed and distributed further.

Image showing Ahoj bro!

The Website

The website was always the centralized pillar of information. Therefore, when a redesign happened, the new website needed to handle over 10 years of content both in Slovak and English. Action photos, videos and press articles had to be included to show the rich history, career progress, determination and an effort it took.

In the redesign, we focused on a clear navigation and a lot of bold header photos. Since most of our fans use social media, we didn't want to discriminate against those who are not, therefore, we included a media stream to keep the website up-to-date with recent news.

With a limited budget, I made a decision to migrate from Joomla to Wordpress and tweak a premium template to get the website out quickly. This turned out to be a good decision and change, as our Media team could publish articles without any extensive help.


OPEN MATOHOMOLA.COM


Design mockups of Matohomola.com

Social Media

Being the first ones who introduced Facebook to Slovak motorsport no longer gave us an advantage. Yes, we have over a 90k+ fan base which we are grateful for, but we needed to have a strategy going forward.

A couple of screenshots of social media

The Merch

To promote our brand and provide merch to our loyal fans we invested in branded t-shirts, hats and other misc stuff. We are planning to open up an e-commerce website for an easier shopping experience. Stay tuned.

Photos of the Merchandise

Other Work

Besides the rebrand, there have been countless other projects, marketing materials, newsletters, sponsor pitches and car livery. Below are the more notable ones.

Sponsor Pitches

As explained in the introduction, sponsorship and funding are one of the most crucial parts of racing. Therefore, it is necessary to appeal to sponsors and convince them. Throughout the years I have been helping the team with structuring their presentations. Below is an excerpt of one deck which accompanied a sponsorship pitch for 1,000,000 €.

Sponsor pitch

Race Car and Suit Design

I worked with all the stakeholders - race team, race driver, sponsors, freelance designers, and the promoter to make sure all expectations are met. Below is the design I helped with in 2017 for the TCR International Series.

Livery and race suit design

Print

Throughout the years, I worked on several autograph postcards, posters and fan material. The most notable are the last 2 photos in the image below. There was the home race for Mato Homola - FIA WTCR Race of Slovakia. Therefore, I helped out to put together 7.000 posters, which were visible to 32k visitors and 6,763,400 TV audience. We did that to excite the fans, bring more awareness and have a gift to remember from the race.

Photo of posters, autograph cards

My 2 cents

Today, as the lead of Design and Digital Media, I’m proud to say that I helped to build up a 90k fan base on social media, I successfully rebranded the whole race team and worked on a number of designs over the years the last 10 years. All of that undoubtedly helped my brother, Mato Homola, to race in the pinnacle of touring car racing world championship - FIA WTCR. This is something our family neither Slovakia would ever consider being possible. But we did it, we got the first Slovak race driver into such a world championship and I’m very proud of him and our work.

Photo of a full race grid at FIA WTCR Race of Hungary

Lessons learned

  • If there is a challenging opportunity, go for it
  • Don't crack under pressure – same as the race drivers
  • Pull all-nighters to finish side projects you are passionate about
  • Your family is the most complicated client
  • Do Design Thinking with family - without them knowing
  • No budget means a lot of creative work!
  • Never give up!

Me and my brother at Salzburgring in 2017
Me and my brother at Salzburgring in 2017 in front of his race car

 

NEXT PROJECT: LIVE RACING   Arrow pointing right

 

© Copyright Ondrej Homola, 2018