By Joe Rich
Table of Contents
How Much Money Can You Earn By Racing RC Cars?
For many, RC car racing is considered to be a hobby. As a general rule of thumb, it is just that.
The thing is that RC car racing can be quite competitive, leading to circuit races and even professional RC car drivers.
While that certainly sounds like a sweet deal, there is far more to it than meets the eye.
With start up costs, continued maintenance, fees for racing, and so much more, it makes you wonder if and how those racing professionals are making money.
Those uninitiated with the RC car racing world may question how this is possible.
This guide will give you a little bit of a breakdown as to where the money is in RC car racing as well as finding out how much can you earn by racing RC cars.
Can You Make Money Racing RC Cars?
The short answer is “yes.” It is quite similar to traditional auto racing as we know it in the sense that it operates on sponsorships.
The top brands in the industry want to be seen as the winners since that is what is most likely to attract attention and buyers to the product.
The better the racer is (and the more they win), the better the chance that they can get a sponsorship from a notable name within the industry.
These sponsorships may be a few bucks here and there or they can be fairly lucrative.
There are also prizes for winning events.
While not all of them will offer a cash prize – winning races can result in event-specific items or simply the bragging rights involved – there is the opportunity to make a little bit more money winning those events.
It is important to know that if you are just beginning in the RC racing world, there is a strong chance that you won’t make any money.
Going into the racing experience with tempered expectations can help mitigate some of the disappointment of not making money at racing events.
Another way that these racers can make money is through stipends and per diems.
Some of the manufacturers within the industry will pay the more visible drivers a per diem for travel, lodging, and food expenses to show up at various events around the world.
Savvy racers will find a way to stay and eat without having to dip into their per diems.
If they manage to do this, there is the possibility that they could pocket quite a bit of extra money while traveling to race their sponsor’s RC cars.
Do Pro RC Racers Sign Contracts?
There is some uncertainty regarding this question.
There is a belief that, yes, the best and most visible RC car racers around the world will sign sponsorship deals with those sponsors.
This is an agreement that they will be paid a certain amount for not only racing, but attending specific events or promoting the brand through social media channels.
It is rare for RC racing professionals to be signed to contracts of any kind, but it is also not entirely unheard of.
Chances are that you have to be in the top 20 to 40 racers on the planet to have an endorsement contract with one of these companies.
Another thing to keep in mind is that, generally speaking, even these contracts tend to not be that lucrative.
It is speculated that the very best handful of RC racers in the world might scratch the $100k mark, but those are mostly just rumours at this point.
The more realistic expectation is that the best drivers in the business can make around $30 to $40K.
While that is certainly not a number to scoff at, it is not the kind of money that most can comfortably live off of without some kind of steady, regular job to keep them going financially.
What Do the Companies Get Out of the Agreements?
So, those contracts or agreements can possibly be available to the best drivers in the world, but what does it take to earn those deals and what does it do for the company?
Why would they pay the top drivers in the world anything?
Well, the model is pretty simple. Name recognition is one of the most important aspects of the hobby.
The better the recognition level throughout the hobby, the more that company will make. It’s a simple formula.
So, that means that the company takes the necessary steps to make itself more visible within the hobby.
Attaching itself to winning drivers – typically the 10 to 20 fastest drivers in the world in their respective classes – is the first way to go about it.
While driving successfully is the most obvious way to go about attracting the attention of these RC car manufacturers, it certainly is not the only way to do it.
There needs to be a willingness to put in the work. As mentioned above, there is an obligation to attend events.
This means travelling for long hours, either by plane or car. It is not uncommon to top the 100K mile mark attending events for the tip-top professionals in the industry.
The drivers also need a bit of personality. When they are at these events, they are representing the manufacturers.
This means putting on their best face, answering questions regarding the track, the car they are driving, the manufacturer they are representing or the industry in general.
Top drivers can generally offer a company a walking, talking marketing and advertising opportunity.
Winning says a lot, but if it comes in an impersonal package that cannot relay the company message to those in attendance, it can be something of a deterrent.
How Much Can You Earn by Racing RC Cars?
What you “can” earn and what you are likely to earn are the two important factors to consider here.
There is a group known as “100%’ers” that work with the sponsors. Everything that they need from a consistent maintenance standpoint – tires, fuel, parts – is covered by the sponsor.
That makes racing essentially free in and of its self.
These sponsors will also give them the aforementioned per diem and the lucky few will have travel expenses covered.
Veterans of the industry will find ways to pocket those per diems by covering those expenses in other ways.
This can mean $50 to $200 per day in per diems.
Doing this a few times a month can add up over the course of a year.
The major professionals will sign with racing teams.
It is known that the select few sign contracts with those teams, but there is still rampant speculation as to what those drivers actually make.
For a factory team driver, hitting $30 to $40k is not uncommon.
If you can make your way to the top of some of these teams, it is possible to scratch the $100K mark.
But realistically speaking, money is hard to come by as an RC racing professional.
The sponsorships are finite and there are a certain number of drivers consistently competing for those spots.
Approaching the industry as a hobby is something that probably 99.5% do. Making money is possible, but it isn’t likely.
Going into RC racing with the goal of making money is fine and well, but it isn’t the most realistic of propositions.
If money is the only motivating factor, you are likely to set yourself up for a good deal of disappointment.
Going Into RC Car Racing to Make Money
While it is certainly a plus that the possibility is there to make money on the RC racing circuit, it is essential to keep in mind that the likelihood of making real money doing so is slim to none.
The industry itself has a limited cap on making money for even the best of drivers and there is typically a great disparity between the tippy top of the food chain and everyone else.
If you can sign on with a sponsor, the opportunity to make a little money is there, but it likely is not enough to quit a day job.
Only the very select few in the industry have been given that chance and they are unlikely to let go of that spot if it were up to them.
This is a hobby for many and that is the way that it should be approached. Enjoy the racing.
Enjoy taking the cars apart, customizing them, and putting them back together again.
Enjoy creating the kind of RC car that you have always dreamed of and enjoy watching it zip around the track as fast as it can possibly go.
There is money to be made in the hobby, but the spots are definitely limited. Finding a sponsorship deal is the way to go if that is your aim.
It can lead to a lot of traveling to new places, meeting new people that share a passion for the hobby, and getting paid to partake in the hobby you love so much.
With tempered expectations, that can be a pretty sweet deal.
If you have good racing skills and would like to try and get some sponsorship here are some companies that may be able to help you out.