First off, I had no idea of these situations where gamers are transitioned into real-life events and opportunities. My son hipped me to a dope video of 2021 Drift Masters Virtual Championship (DMVC) champion Rhys Tatterson who was brought to a track to drive the car of Drift Masters European Championship winner Piotr Więcek’s Worthouse: Can a sim drifter drive a real 900bhp championship-winning Nissan Silvia s15?! – YouTube
I specifically hadn’t heard the story of Jann Mardenborough, “a British gamer who had never competed in a motorsport before being selected to attend the GT Academy and becoming a professional racing driver.” That’s because the ‘based on a true’ story of Jann is a celebration of the successful transition of a gamer in the UK. Racing isn’t really a primary sport in the U.S. outside of NASCAR. While Gran Prix’s are celebrated events, race feels disconnected because like tennis and golf, these sports are traditionally rooted in the upper echelon of society. In short, racing is a rich person’s game and since the majority of super/luxury cars are born in European nations, it removes the focus in the U.S. from elite racing events and places car enthusiast culture to the Supr level.
Puma and Motorsports
Puma has had a long history of sponsoring and holding the licenses for Motorsports and various brands. There have been Porsche design sneakers from Puma, but the driving sneaker style isn’t very popular in the U.S. With direct relationships with BMW and Ferrari it would seem a Risk alignment for Puma to delve into the Supr meet-up culture in the U.S. While the Gran Turismo film looks incredible, and you can see Puma prominently featured throughout the trailer, it makes me wonder why no brand has delved into Donk and meet-up culture. Nike has a Risk alignment to low-rider culture in Los Angeles through the Cortez, but the segment of people throughout the south of the U.S. spends a great amount of their disposable income on their cars, yet no one has created campaigns or apparel attempting to divert to those markets.
Retailer/brand KITH has shown an ability to drop motorsport collabs, even delivering a co-branded BMW car, but you have to wonder if sports brands and the creators of the Gran Turismo film are missing a unique opportunity to bring this film to a broader audience with activations in partnership with Puma. It seems that way from my perspective.