Word of Wheels: Are pro’s crossing the line to win?


Crossing The Line

Stepping over the line…we’ve all done it at some point, somehow, somewhere. Perhaps you “accidentally” liked a photo from 5-years ago of a hot friend on Facebook, or jumped into an online keyboard war in which was none of your business. When it comes to professional R/C racing there are a LOT of lines, but the question is at what point is our hobby’s paid professionals stepping over them?

This topic of discussion entered my mind directly referring to the line of tire sponsorship. It is common sense that the paid racers around the globe get paid to do one thing…win. In this day and age, one of the quickest ways to make or break a race is tire choice. While simply mounting up a good working tire won’t guarantee a race win, mounting up a bad working tire is more likely to guarantee a loss.

It’s no secret that the top pros have & will step outside of their designated sponsor tire company’s product line to ensure their best shot at winning – we know in many cases it’s a written part of the contract, pressure coming from the chassis manufacturer. My question is, at what point are these drivers stepping over the line?

Worn Tires

As a racer, your job is to win. Your livelihood depends on your performance – you’re only as good as you finished last Sunday… It only makes sense that you do whatever it takes to win and put food on the pit table. If that means running a brand of tire other than your sponsoring tire company, by all means necessary just to win…right? Or because you signed a paid contract with a company stating you will represent and race using their products, if their products are inferior at a certain event, that’s a risk you took and you should remain loyal to your sponsor and their products (risking the win)?


As a sponsoring company, your job is to hire winning racers. Your brand name and reputation lies within the hands of the racers who represent you. It only makes sense that you do whatever it takes to help your driver win, and build your brand. If that means quietly allowing them to run another brand tire on a rare occasion ‘to win’ as ‘your driver’, by all means necessary just win…right? Or does it backfire and look even worse – the tire company themselves admitting their product is inferior to their competition’s ? It’s a lose/lose situation ?


Or because you are paying your driver to perform his/her best with YOUR brand of products, regardless of what brand is ‘working best’ that day, you demand your driver use the best possible product that YOU offer?


Which is right? Which is wrong? At what point are drivers (and sponsoring companies) stepping over the line?

Some Cars are considered better than others in certain conditions, as are some engines, but you don’t see the pros (very often…) throwing in a completely different engine or motor in their car for their next run – why should tire selection be any different ?


  • gman

    Surely if the pros were ONLY allowed to use the products they endorse, this would only be a good thing. We would all quickly see what companies were delivering the best quality & performance, and it would force the rest to step up their game, so they land the endorsement of the pros.

    Think about it- say there was only one awesome tire company, all the top racers would be scrambling to be sponsored by them, or at worst, not accepting sponsorship from other tire manufacturers, so they’re free to use the best tire company’s products.

    Other companies, keen to get their names on the racer’s shirts (because now endorsement means something beyond just accepting money) would be forced to come up with seriously competitive products the pros would be happy to back, and use in races.

    The reality of the current situation is that the sponsorship deals communicate little more than “look everyone, these are the guys paying my bills”.

    What it should communicate is: “these are the guys I believe in, trust and use- the ones you should give your hard earned bucks to, like I would, if I weren’t a pro”.

  • Andreas Myrberg

    Not as easy as it sounds.
    It depends on which sponsor you are.
    Normally you have 1 sponsor which pays the biggest bills which normally is the car manufacturer.
    They are and will not be so happy to spend big bucks so that your driver will be to slow because at this or that race the tires you get from your sponsor just aint good enough on that track.
    So it does all depend on the situation that driver is in.
    If the tire sponsor is your main sponsor paying the biggest bills, then you stay.

    For me, with my drivers (even if that now is not with tires) I want my drivers to have the best equipment to be able to do there very best. If at some tracks this is not the point, my drivers are allowed to use something else of course telling me upfront why and what the problem is.
    This way his race is not compromised and I get the input I need to make sure I can continue to improve my products so that this won’t happen again.

    Just my 5 cents 🙂