Here’s Why Companies Spend Millions on Motorsports


It turns out that building a winning machine and developing the associated team is pretty expensive. The benefits are plentiful, and winning isn’t the only way companies derive value from motorsports.

Here's Why Companies Spend Millions on Motorsports

Have you ever wondered how much money it costs to develop and maintain a racing team? Probably not, and I wouldn’t blame you… but it turns out that building a winning machine and developing the associated team is pretty expensive. By pretty expensive, we are talking tens or even hundreds of millions of dollars annually depending on the series.

Last summer, I traveled to Europe and went to various automotive-themed destinations in Germany, Belgium, and Italy. I’ve covered this in another post in greater detail, but for this, the focus is on one thing: technology. More specifically, the engineering and organizational benefits that companies get from building and maintaining a racing team.

Racing is a great mania to which one must sacrifice everything, without reticence, without hesitation. – Enzo Ferrari

The Steering Wheel

Steering wheels have evolved since the early days and now have buttons for media control, drive modes, shifting, and countless other somewhat pointless functions (has the voice command system in your car ever worked?) that can at least entertain the driver. The advancements in motorsport steering wheels, which have evolved into complex interfaces with multiple controls to improve vehicle performance, have had a trickle-down effect on passenger vehicles. The less time drivers have their hands off the wheel, the more they can drive the car. Our uses are different from racing drivers, but the idea is the same.

Here’s a collection of photos of some wheels over the years, notice the lack of buttons or even an airbag in the first, and then a horn button in (what I think is) a Lamborghini Murcielago, then buttons for literally anything you can think of (including a useless voice assistant that reacts anytime someone mentions the word Mercedes).

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