Calls for BMW to Get A Clue and Join Formula Drift with OEM Support

A writer at a few days ago named Shawn Molnar wrote a great piece about why BMW should start providing factory support in Formula Drift. The first BMW to enter Formula Drift back in 2005 was Andy Sapp with his black 3-series. Following in his footsteps several BMW projects have come and gone from the sport. Most recently and noteable has been Michael Essa with his Z4 and 335 (pictured above). Here is part of his compelling argument of why BMW should get involved and you can follow the link below to read the full story:

“BMW has long spent marketing dollars in creative ways. We’ve seen BMW throw money at sailing championships and golf championships – and considering the economic stature of the spectators, we weren’t surprised to see marketing budgets partly devoted to these sports.

BMW took a hiatus from their Hollywood product placement efforts, but they’re now back in the game with the i8 scoring a lead role in Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol – playing in theaters now. When potential buyers are paying to see your advertisement, you know you’re on to something. Previous Hollywood product placement certainly did no harm for the brand, and the young audience that Hollywood captures represents a key target market to focus on, since these youngsters will be buying the cars and motorcycles of tomorrow.”



  1. steve b. says:

    i doubt bmw would back a drifter..that would be like stacy adams (shoes/suits) sponsoring skateboarders…

  2. DUBteez says:

    as cool as it would be for bmw to sponsor a drift effort i dont think the results be near what they would want to make it worth it. the average bmw is out of most “drifters” price ranges.

  3. miguelito says:

    that would be awesome if that ever happen … imagine how many BMW drifted around the world..

  4. Jmadge says:

    I wanna know where this guy got his supposed statistics for how much the adverage drift fan earns…. Unless he hacked into federal taxes and facebook its highly impossible for those statistics to even remotely be correct

  5. hollywood says:

    jmadge (it paints me to write your rediculous handle name) you would be astonished to know that formula drift dose the leg work in earned income for the average fan and bundles it into a nice little marketing package for each driver to use with there proposal for sponsorship each year. its call a statistics package and can be obtained by emailing cassadie tanaka fixmer at formula d . com (not her email cuz i wouldnt give it to you any how). never the less he is on to something and bmw sure has wasted money in much more un suitable places (including tanner foust and paul tracy jr having drift contests on the bmw training track)

    words aside this is good for the sport, be supportive. (any news is good news)

  6. hollywood says:

    dont know why i placed a jr on the end of pauls name (sorry dude slap me when i get back to the states)

  7. DUBteez says:

    jmadge by the average bmw i mean a new one, bmw aint worried about selling busted ass old 3 series. Go to any drift event around the country and count up the guys who can afford to slide around a 38k car. while your out there collecting your data i’ll be worrying about things that could actually affect drifting. bmw sponsoring essa or anybody else would be rad. could use a few more deep pockets in the sport. i just dont see them putting out even the cash scion does. oh and by the way i said the average bmw is out of most drifters price range. not the average drifter. not drift fan. just most drifters. dont put words in my comments that werent there lil guy

  8. Michael Essa says:

    I think some of you guys are looking at it differently. I dont think that 75% of hardcore drift fans can afford a new BMW right now. But if they see a cool car, doing cool things, maybe down the line, in 10 years or so they will be able to afford a new BMW. And now that its been a dream to have one, they buy a BMW.

  9. Jelani says:

    Exactly Essa, is about establishing brand loyalty down the line….no one can afford to by a mustand and dritt it either or a 370z or a new camaro but down the line you might… i look back when i was 16 growing up into the drifting culture and i wanted a s chasis and years later i have 2 and a q45 because of the brand loyalty i got watching the sport. all the people who by certain trucks because that what the grew up riding in with their dads.

  10. Danny George says:

    Looking at the statistics packet makes you scratch your head that no nascar type sponsors have jumped into this sport. There is huge fanbase with ALOT of viewers and with all the TV, web, ect there is millions of viewers worldwide.

    Where’s coke, home depot(peeeeerfect fit for the car modder), i think harbor freight would be dope sponsor. (can ya throw me another 14m this thing broke)

    Shit I will almost give away the main sponsor position for cchhhheeeeaaaappp. 0 buy-in offer for big sponsor just reward/sponsor based on results.

  11. YOitzJDM says:

    Danny – it’s not that impressive actually. There’s between 50k and 100k people who attend a NASCAR race, and another few million who watch it on TV. Formula D barely hits those numbers across the entire season, where NASCAR hits it in a 3 hour period.

    Also, there’s between 50k and 100k fans (and a million or two viewers on TV) for every single major college football game, of which there’s 20 or so per weekend for 16 weekends straight. Again, FD barely hits those numbers over the entirety of a 7-month racing season and a 5 month tv broadcast season (which is tape delayed several months). That’s not so attractive to the big box advertisers

  12. hollywood says:

    i gotta say this per capita fomula d has the numbers any other sport and more viewers than most any other motor sports asside from nascar. in all honesty would you call nascar a motor sport or a redneck version of day time tellovision (drama drama drama).. what you guys dont underatand but mr essa dose is there is already a nascar presence in formula drift. Mr blare stopnic who is ryan turk jr and forsbergs agent is from the prestigious mmi that represents some of the biggest players in nascar, how els do you think these teams have the capital they have and the crews and rigs to back them up. they have an ace in the hole.

    never the less there are other companys that would be interested in drifting if they knew what it was, you have to remember these guys dont leave there corporate lives and unless someone is willing to spend the time and money to persue them they dont know nore care who or what we are all about.

    danny giving away a title sponsorship is not how you get one it belittles the value of the cars and drivers and spectators of the sport. you need to ask for 100k which is pennies to the dollar to fortune 500 companys like home depot

  13. Tung says:

    Also factor in down the line the drifting demographic will change as the fans get older. So 5-10 years from now the avg drift spectator may make 70k. So it may not be the right time for bmw to join now, but I have no doubts it will be in time.

  14. Blaze1 says:

    Does BMW even offer a car under 30K?

    Compare that to the cars that hyundai, scion, and ford have to offer.

  15. Chelsea DeNofa says:

    I have been a supporter of bmw for quite a while. Their products are hands down one of the best out of the box drift cars, even dating back to e30 M3’s.

    Have you ever seen a BMW commercial that didn’t have drifting in it?

    When you go to a drift event, many of the cars in the show and in the parking lot are BMW’s. Does it really matter if they are 10 years old already? Not really, its branding at all levels. New cars because they are awesome, technologically advanced, and still motorsports inspired. Old cars because they have character, are more affordable by everyone, and some of the best bang for the buck in the auto industry.

    On another note, I am not sure that BMW views the professional drivers in the drifting community as “BMW Ambassadors”. BMW cares equally about how they are portrayed as a professional team on and off the track as they do about winning.

    If BMW does get involved, I think they should feel it out by doing what Mazda does. Offer contingency and parts sponsors to all of the drivers involved, as well as sponsoring a series before they start an entire team of a few cars. I think that while drifting may not directly relate to the sales of new cars instantly, it will absolutely translate to a slight return on all investments of racing and build an amazing add campaign and branding explosion.