Formula E Team Dragon Racing Expects To Sell All Sponsorship

Formula E team Dragon Racing is expecting to sell out its sponsorship inventory by the end of the series' inaugural ’14-15 season. The team, which is owned by Jay Penske, has been able to attract interest from a number of potential sponsors as the series makes its U.S. debut this Saturday in Miami. “Judging by the interest and the meetings we have lined up in the next few weeks, I will be very surprised if we are not already fully sponsored by the end of the season," said former driver Oriol Servia, who was named partner and managing director of Dragon Racing on Wednesday. Currently, the team’s most prominent partners are security software company McAfee and entertainment trade publication Variety, which is owned by Penske Media Corp. Dragon Racing co-Managing Dir Paul Woolnough declined to comment on the terms of the team’s current deals.

With Formula E kicking off its U.S. leg this weekend in South Florida, L.A.-based Dragon Racing, whose home race is coming up in April on the streets of Long Beach, may be able to capitalize on the series’ increased exposure in the States over this stretch. Servia did not reveal the names of the companies interested in the team. However, he said the meetings will happen within the month. “[We are] at a very late stage with three major recognizable brands from different sectors," he said. Considering Formula E is only four races into its inaugural season, Servia described the interest in the team as promising, adding that there is always a spot for another decal. “At the end of the day this is racing," he said. “It doesn't matter what series or what car, you can always sell more and you can always spend more."

'WE ARE A RACING TEAM': Dragon Racing, unlike Formula E’s second American team, Andretti, will not become a manufacturer when the series lifts its restrictions on powertrains starting in ’15-16. The team’s decision, however, is not a sign of reduced commitment to the sport. “The reason why we didn’t apply as a manufacturer is very simple, we are not one, we are a racing team," Servia said. This kind of approach could pay off in the end as big carmakers are expected to join the series in coming years, according to Formula E CEO Alejandro Agag. “If you do your own powertrain you may be blocking a potential alliance with an OEM [Original Equipment Manufacturer] further down the line," Agag said. Going into season two, Dragon Racing has the options of either acquiring a powertrain from one of the manufacturers at a maximum capped prize or use this year’s powertrain and upgrade it. Servia revealed that the team has already been in communications with all the manufacturers for next season. "We will evaluate what the best option is and decide what route to take pretty soon," he said. HJ Mai/SportsBusinessDaily.com

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