For the fifth season, Team Cooper Tire and Mazda Motorsports have joined forces to help the drivers of the Mazda Road To Indy Presented by Cooper Tires amplify their social media voices.
In 2014, Cooper Tire rolled out the #TeamCooperTire program and garnered 60 million impressions, and by the end of the 2017 season, that number had grown 363% to 218 million impressions.
The following racing season, Mazda Motorsports and the #MRTI hashtag joined the party and in the past three years, the number of unique Twitter users that have been connected with has grown 400%, from 6 million in 2015 to 24 million in 2017.
There is little doubt that the motorsports landscape has changed significantly over the past few decades. Gone are the days that a driver has to only bring their helmet to the track. They still need to be quick to move to the pinnacle of the sport. But, they also need much more than a proficient right foot in their toolbox.
Sponsors are now looking for results AND a driver that is engaged and represents their brand effectively. With the amount of money and brand goodwill involved with sponsoring a race car driver, it’s not surprising that engaged drivers like James Hinchcliffe and Pippa Mann are popular with fans and sponsors.
With that last point in mind, the goal of the #MRTI and #TeamCooperTire hashtag program is for Cooper Tires and Mazda to provide a series of guideposts that will help Mazda Road To Indy drivers tell their story (branding) and connect with, and increase social media followers. Both of those functions are key to attracting a personal fan base and also gives a driver a chance to show off their personality to potential sponsors.
The career benefits should be more than enough to make a driver and team want to participate in the program, but Cooper Tires and Mazda have gone a step further and will be providing significant prizes to the teams and drivers.
The MRTI season has been divided into seven different contest periods and depending on how many of the established social media goals are met by the drivers and teams, they can earn between one and five entries into each drawing.
Unlike previous years when only one driver/team was drawn in each contest period, the entries of three drivers/teams will be randomly selected to choose from a group of prizes that can directly impact their racing career. Included are a set of race or street tires from Team Cooper Tire, a $500 certificate from Mazda to be used to purchase race gear, a one-on-one meeting with Verizon IndyCar Series race stewards Arie Luyendyk or Max Papis, a interview on IndyCar Radio during an IndyCar practice or qualifying session, a one-on-one with the IndyCar Race Director during an IndyCar Practice Session, race weekend pass packages with hospitality to be used with sponsors, family or friends, a one-on-one during the Road To Indy TV Race Recap.
Having a central place to find MRTI content is a huge benefit for racing fans. Searching the two hashtags on Twitter and Instagram will guide you to content created by drivers, teams, the series, media and other partners. Drivers are encouraged to post behind-the-scenes action, so that you, as a fan will have a fun way to follow along with the stories and lives of the drivers as they strive to reach the Verizon IndyCar Series.