Full Speed Ahead for Motorsports Teams

Auto racing has been a notable inspiration in the fashion industry for the last two and a half years, with experts crediting the launch of Ferrari’s first full fashion collection in June 2021 with jumpstarting the current popularity of the look. The trend has also been driven by the fact that sports influences in general, from soccer- to basketball-infused styles, have been popular in fashion during this period.

Some of the racing-inspired collections have simply integrated motorsports design elements like checkerboards and racing stripes into the pieces. But a growing number have been official collaborations with racing-related IP. All manner of properties—governing bodies, sponsors, car and automotive products brands, celebrity racers, and the like—have been following in Ferrari’s tracks.

Lately, motorsports teams—especially (although not exclusively) Formula 1 teams—have been particularly active, launching both fashion collections and other products at a fast pace:

  • NASCAR team Hendrick Motorsports partnered with Castore this month, representing the apparel brand’s entrance into NASCAR for the first time after having been involved with Formula 1 and Indycar. The five-year deal includes teamwear for drivers and pit crew, and performance sportswear and replicawear for consumers.
  • Sauber Motorsport’s Alpha Romero F1 Team Stake, represented by Wildbrain CPLG’s Aspire division, partnered with Abercrombie & Fitch in November for a fashion collaboration consisting of adult t-shirts. The products were developed by licensee Outerstuff, which holds rights for Team Stake men’s, women’s, and children’s fashion apparel. The team has also recently signed a number of other deals across categories, including for several ranges of collectibles.
  • The MoneyGram Haas F1 team signed New Era in November as its licensee for driver and team headwear, including its 9FORTY curved visor, 9FIFTY snapback, Trucker mesh designs, and bucket hats. The partners focused on their respective American roots, which differentiate them in the global world of Formula 1.
  • NASCAR team JR Motorsports paired with Bass Pro Shops in November. The wide-ranging partnership encompasses branding at the track, including on the team’s cars, as well as merchandise giveaways through Bass Pro’s Conservation CLUB Card rewards program, among other elements. It also includes a new line of merchandise featuring Bass Pro branding and images of two drivers, Dale Earnhardt Jr. and Josh Berry, available at Bass Pro’s 170 locations in the U.S. and Canada.
  • Formula 1’s Oracle Red Bull Racing renewed its partnership with TAG Heuer in November after a successful five years together in which many of their co-branded products have become bestsellers for the watchmaker.
  • Formula 1 team Williams Racing partnered with Puma in October for driver racewear, the official team kit, and replica apparel and accessories for global retail, tailored to consumers of all ages. Puma’s subsidiary stichd, which makes fanwear along with body-, leg-, and swimwear, is also part of the program. Puma has partnered with a number of F1 teams, including Alfa Romeo F1 Team Stake, BMW M Motorsport, Mercedes AMG Petronas F1, Porsche Motorsport, and Scuderia Ferrari.
  • McLaren Racing expanded its relationship with Castore earlier in the year, announcing in January 2023 that it would support McLaren with team and fanwear across all of its racing series—Formula 1, Indycar, Formula E, Extreme E, and esports—starting in 2024. The two began working together in Formula 1 in 2021, with the deal being Castore’s first in motorsports. Separately, McLaren partnered with K-Swiss in 2022, representing the first racing initiative for the latter, for at-track footwear as well as consumer footwear and apparel.
  • The Aston Martin team paired with Hugo Boss in June 2022, marking the latter’s return to Formula 1 racing after a five-year break during which it moved to Formula E, a circuit of races for electric cars. The three-year deal includes Boss branding on the team’s cars as well as Boss apparel for the team and fans. Boss had previously been involved with Formula 1 teams McLaren and Mercedes.

The announcements of many of these deals have stressed that their products would reflect the performance, precision, and innovation that characterize both partners’ brands.

Beyond teams such as those outlined here, all manner of other motorsports IP continue to forge deals. Since we last covered this segment in 2022, Toyota Racing Development has paired with HUF for a 40-piece retro skate-streetwear collection, Le Mans has teamed with Bell Racing for helmets, and Formula 1 has licensed PUMA for F1-branded apparel, footwear, and accessories for the track and retail, to name just a few.

A reminder that Raugust Communications’ monthly e-newsletter comes out tomorrow, Tuesday, December 19, 2023. The Licensing Topic of the Month examines recent news on the evolving trade show front, while the Datapoint research spotlight will take a look at licensing in the graphic novel sector. If you do not yet subscribe to this free publication, you can do so here.

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