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17 year old Marcano becomes a 100k brand in just 12 months

Teenage racing sensation Damani Marcano, is just a few weeks away from embarking on his second year of racing in cars, this time competing in two 2016 saloon car championships (Volkswagen Racing Cup & VAG Trophy). With only two years in karting under his belt, Marcano made the move to cars in 2015, at the age of just 16.

Marcano is already a bonafide £100,000+ racing brand. Where many new racers to the sport rely heavily on financial backing from affluent family members, Damani’s family wasn’t in this position. He has had to raise independent sponsorship from the start, building his brand to offer maximum return on investment.

Team-HARD. Racing Principal Tony Gilham comments: “At barely 17 years old, Damani is now a £100K+ per year brand. He has an unprecedented level of independent sponsorship with financial backers, partnerships with motorsport brands, companies in the automotive industry; he’s even got a clothing deal – and he only moved into cars last year! Of course it’s Damani’s raw talent and dedication to racing that has been fundamental to this process, but also the incredibly hard work he has put into his brand and public presence plus his maturity in front of the cameras. We still have a little way to go to cover all of his costs this season but there is absolutely no reason why Damani Marcano cannot grow into a million-pound brand within the next five years.”

In motorsport today there is much more to a driver’s role than podium finishes; financial backers, sponsors and partners expect exposure across a number of platforms as well as a vocal spokesperson from the driver they have teamed up with. New brands are coming on board almost by the minute with textile printing and brand promotion company The Clever Baggers increasing their support this season with more brands coming on board almost by the minute. Recent backers include street-wear fashion brand King Apparel, social media engagement platform BeeLiked and performance parts manufacturer obp Motorsport, demonstrating the diversity of Damani’s appeal.

In the last year Damani has attracted a strong team of behind-the-scenes supporters. Team-HARD and RiverGlide, helping to shape his overall strategy, and were soon joined by In The Bag PR and now also Integra Sports Partners to develop his brand to the maximum. On and off the track he repeatedly demonstrates incredible maturity and understanding of the industry he is currently taking by storm.

Damani Marcano comments: “When Tony sat me down recently and discussed my development and brand I was taken aback! I’m working hard at 6th form studying my A-Levels and I’m really busy on social media so I’ve not really had time to stop and think how far things have come or how quickly. I do understand that as a racing driver I am as much a marketing channel and source of PR for the brands that back me as anything else but it’s insane how much backing I now have. I’m really excited about the possibilities but my main focus is to get back up to speed in the car, get as much experience as I can in these first rounds and do my best to move up the grid from wherever I start the season. A season of racing is only half a year of actual experience and there are some very experienced drivers in both series; I know I still have a lot to learn.”

Damani’s first race of 2016 in the VAG Trophy will be on 28th March at Oulton Park, where he had his first taste of car racing last year. Damani is also studying for exams and scheduling testing, in his race car, around his school timetable which has resulted in decidedly less time on the track than his competitors. Tony Gilham’s expectations are wisely conservative given Damani’s lack of experience and lack of opportunities over the break to be behind the wheel.

Gilham continues: “Damani is still very young and inexperienced on track and this year will be all about developing him for the very promising future he has in front of him. With his school and exam commitments it’s been very hard to get him into a car over the winter. He’s spent the better part of 5 months out of the car and hasn’t even driven on the road.  Even his simulator time has been limited so the first few race weekends will be all about getting him back up to the pace he had last year. There’s no doubt that he will develop from there at a much faster rate than last season. I’m sure that by the end of the season, with a bit more funding, he’ll be collecting trophies in the VAG Trophy and be closing in on top-5 finishes in the more competitive VW Racing Cup.”

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