Rick Kelly: Red Bull will only play to win
Global energy drink giant Red Bull will only enter V8 Supercars as a naming rights sponsor if it can be guaranteed strong results, says its long-time brand ambassador Rick Kelly.
Red Bull currently boasts an extensive worldwide motorsport sponsorship portfolio, but has yet to compete with anything more substantial than individual driver deals in the Australian category.
Speedcafe.com contacted Red Bull Australia for comment on its interest in stepping up its involvement in the category, and was instructed to speak to Kelly on the matter.
Kelly has represented Red Bull in V8 Supercars for more than five years, and says that the company will only commit to a bigger program if it can be certain of substantial results, on and off track.
“They are a very smart brand and are very strong in motorsport worldwide, which is why the question (of stepping up to full car sponsorship) always gets asked,” Kelly told Speedcafe.com.
“I think Red Bull understands the strength of V8 Supercars in Australia. They have always considered sponsoring a car and have done their due diligence.
“If they did enter the category, they’d want to come in with a bang and do absolutely the right way and do everything perfectly.
“I don’t think you’ll see Red Bull in the sport until they feel they are confident they can achieve that with solid results on the track and very solid results off the track.”
The hunt for naming rights sponsors is currently a hot topic in the V8 Supercars paddock, with 19 cars understood to have yet to sign major deals for next year.
While Kelly Racing has yet to complete its sponsorship puzzle for next year, there are no guarantees that Red Bull, should it choose to increase its presence, would align itself with the soon to be Nissan Motorsport squad.
Many other teams, including category heavy-hitter Triple Eight Race Engineering, are also in what is a very competitive market.
“Red Bull is a very loyal brand and they have been very good to me and they have been very understanding,” said Kelly of Red Bull’s options.
“But it would be silly for any company to just align themselves with one driver. If it’s not the right fit for them, then there’s another team that might be. There are certainly other teams out there (apart from Kelly Racing) that are without sponsors.”
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