How Much Do NASCAR Drivers earn in F3 and DTM?
What is Formula 3?
Before F3 can be introduced, you must first have a basic knowledge of F1. Formula 1 racing (or F1) is the highest class of international racing in the world. Since there are many races in each season, and because drivers come from all different parts of the world, the sport is extremely popular worldwide. Many young racers dream of racing in F1, but there are many other levels they must pass through to get there. The entry-level for Formula Racing is Formula 3, or F3. F3 is the third-tier level for Formula Racing. Just like minor league levels for athletes in other sports who aspire to have a major league career, the F3 level is viewed as a racer's first step towards a potential future in F1.
How much are F3 drivers paid?
In most professional and minor league sports, athletes are paid for their work and contributions to their team. However, this is not the case in F3. In order to get into F3, racers must pay for their spots. Just like in F1, F3 racers race for teams. Most F3 drivers will have to pay the teams in order to secure their spot in races for a season. Racers are not paid for their performances, but instead can only make money through personal sponsorships. Success in F3 can lead to a spot in F2 or even a direct advancement to F1, although this is very rare.
F3 can be very expensive for racing prospects but can turn out to be a prosperous investment if they make it to the F1 level, where most racers earn millions of dollars for their races. Lewis Hamilton, who is currently the highest paid F1 racer with a salary of $76 million in 2020, began his career racing in F3.
There is some controversy regarding the F3 salary structure, as it can be worrisome for some younger races who do not have a well-off family to support their racing endeavours. These racers may also not attract sponsorships from teams because their financial situations may not compare favorably to other F3 racers. Some drivers attempt to pursue the start of their racing careers in other lower level racing leagues, where they will be paid directly for their races. One of the leagues where that happens is the DTM.
What is DTM?
DTM refers to the Deutsche Tourenwagen Masters (also called German Touring Car Masters), which is a car racing series based mainly in Germany. DTM is similar to the structure of F1 and NASCAR, but does not have the popularity or fan outreach that those racing classes do. Currently, the DTM is mainly used by young drivers in an attempt to start their careers in single-car racing as an alternative to other low-level affiliations such as F3. This is mostly because they do not require drivers to pay for their spots in the series.
How much are DTM drivers paid?
Although DTM drivers are paid for their races, they are not paid very much. There is no official list of the salaries of DTM drivers, like there are for F1 or NASCAR racers, but the salaries of the top DTM drivers are believed to be similar to those of V8 Supercar Drivers in Australia. The top racers in Australia's racing league are paid as high as $1 million per year. However, this only applies to the top racers, so most racers in the DTM likely make a salary that can be significantly lower than that figure. While this is not as much as some of the more talented F1 drivers, this is still a much better pay alternative than the salary structure for F3 drivers, which is why more and more younger drivers are choosing to start a career in lower levels like the DTM rather than through more traditional lower levels.
How can F3 drivers make money?
F3 drivers are not paid for racing at the lower levels, but they can earn money through personal sponsorships. F3 racers must pay a team to give them their seat in a race. Affiliating with a team can help them make money by appearing in promotional activities representing the team, whether it be through public appearances or through media and advertisements. There are many methods for F3 racers to promote their racing careers while also earning money for doing so.
What is a pay driver?
A pay driver is a person who is able to participate in professional races by either opting to race for free or by paying a team to let them race. The team can then use this money to further fund their operations. Pay drivers are prominent in the lower levels of professional racing, specifically in F2 and F3, although there are some pay drivers in high levels such as F1 and NASCAR. However, there are much fewer pay drivers at the higher levels and they typically do not perform well compared to other racers.
Why do drivers compete in F3 if they aren't paid for races?
Drivers are not paid in F3, but they can gain valuable exposure and recognition for their performance if they do well. Better performance can attract lucrative sponsorships from teams who are more renowned, and can also help a young F3 driver reach the F1 faster. Many drivers also compete in F3 because it is viewed as a stepping stone towards a career in F1, given that it is directly affiliated with the higher level. Nearly all current F1 drivers started their professional racing careers in F3.
Why are some drivers opting to race in the DTM instead of F3?
Some younger drivers who are less financially inclined to pursue a career in F3, where salaries are not guaranteed and where players usually can only make money through sponsorships, which are not always given, instead look to start their professional careers in leagues where they are paid for their races. One of these leagues is the DTM, or the Deutsche Tourenwagen Masters (also called German Touring Car Masters). Although a majority of the racers in this league are not paid handsomely, it can be viewed as a better alternative than F3 simply because the racers are paid for their performance.