You know what makes me cringe in the car scene at the moment? Well, a lot of things actually, but at this very moment, as I write this, it's certain peoples obsession, no, expectation, of sponsorship for their cars.
Some people seem to think being sponsored and blagging free stuff is a main goal for their project, in fact many see it as a expectation, and they deserve it just because they've got a nice car. Well let me tell you, sponsorship isn't like that, it's not a charity, it's a two way thing, and unless they get their money's worth out of you, they're either not going to give you sponsorship in the first place, or you'll ruin it for everyone else by short-changing them; putting them off doing so in the future.
While it seems pretty obvious when you think about it, a lot of people don't 'get' the concept of car sponsorship, so let me spell it out for you. First of all, it's not a charity, it's not like asking your Gran to sponsor you for a charity bike ride, there's no “Tuners In Need” fundraising events, and it's certainly not some free stuff you automatically get by having, or indeed thinking you have, a cool car.
Car sponsorship is simply exchanging goods, services, or maybe even money, for advertising, and a big problem is people seem to grossly overestimate the advertising value of their cars. Sticking a few stickers on a car almost nobody sees isn't value for money advertising unless you've been sponsored to the tune of 50p. Competing in some race or drift championship, or going to a lot of car shows doesn't automatically make you a media darling either; like it or not, 90% of competition or show cars are almost never stand out from the crowd enough to get serious amounts of coverage.
Fact is, unless your car is truly special, and by that I don't just mean a nice car that's popular in your local area or club, but truly something stand-out and world-class that has a serious following, it's unlikely it can justify any serious amount of sponsorship over a company simply spending the equivalent amount of money on conventional advertising.
Unfortunately this sponsorship craze has become such a big deal to some that it's become a badge of honour, to the extent that some will happily plaster their cars in company logos in exchange for 5% off an exhaust and a free T-shirt, but in reality they mostly want 'sponsorship' so they can try and show off about being a big shot sponsored car/driver to anyone who will listen.
If people spent more time truly working out how to make a good car, rather than mass emailing badly written begging letters to companies for undeserved sponsorship, the tuning world really would be a better place; especially as so many 'sponsored' cars are far from as good as they could be, as instead they're just a clothes horse for a companies products, no matter how unsuitable they are...