“You don’t have to be a champion to be a winner”
Apart from being the title of Brian Sims’ fascinating autobiography, published in the summer of 2019, it’s a statement that offers a fitting description of his amazing career, which started in the business world as a Xerox salesman and took him to the heady heights of Formula 1. A wonderful motivational speaker for corporate events, functions and conferences, as well as after-dinner occasions, Brian has the rare ability to be able to tailor his talks to each and every client, having succeeded in the business world, professional sport and the world-leading UK motorsport industry.
He was recently awarded an Honorary Doctorate at Birmingham City University in recognition of his outstanding contribution to the UK motorsport industry, which included being the founder in 1994, of the prestigious Motorsport Industry Association (MIA). The MIA helped formalise the world-leading UK industry as a sector in its own right. One of only three MIA Honorary Life Members, Brian has become an influential figure within the motorsport industry, particularly in respect of introducing educational initiatives, encouraging young people into engineering and technical training at University level.
Brian’s story, however, is not the stereotypical one of a young racing driver with amazing talent who went on to become a World Champion. Rather like a League One professional footballer realising that Manchester City will never come knocking at his door, Brian accepted that F1 might be out of his reach, but a professional race-driving career wasn’t.
It was his exceptional professional sales ability, coupled with his determination to make up for a lack of natural race-driving skills that saw him race professionally for eleven years, eventually moving to South Africa where he was contracted to Mercedes Benz SA as a touring car driver. He was offered the role of Manager of the Kyalami Grand Prix Circuit and in 1982 was faced with infamous F1 Driver’s Strike led by Niki Lauda.
Eventually in 1987, thanks to yet another massive sponsorship, Brian retired from race driving and established his own race driver school, South Africa’s first-ever, at the Kyalami Grand Prix Circuit in Johannesburg. This didn’t mean that his desire to fulfil his ambition of getting to F1 had disappeared and awareness of Brian’s sales skills in that respect soon reached the CEO of Lola Race Car’s in the UK. The decision had been made by this famous marque to establish its own F1 Team. Who better to handle the commercial side of putting the enormous budget together than Brian Sims?
Whilst at Lola Cars, as Marketing Director of its F1 Team, Brian was invited by Sky TV to become a regular Sunday night presenter of live IndyCar racing, With Lola providing most of the race cars that competed in the series, in which Nigel Mansell was now competing having won the F1 World title, it fitted well with the day job.
Brian went on to further develop a career in F1, by personally securing ground-breaking multi-million-pound deals that brought FedEx, Gillette and Marconi into F1, this time for the World Championship-winning Benetton F1 Team. He went on to become its Commercial Director until its sale to Renault in 2001. He had finally achieved his goal. Not only had he reached F1, albeit in a different way to that which he had hoped when he started his racing career, but he had proved to be one of the most successful sponsorship sales exponents in motorsport.
Brian returned to South Africa in 2006 and with substantial sponsorship, established the South African Motor Sport Industry Association, designed to encourage young black students into technical and engineering skills education. In 2010 returned to the UK and was offered a role on the Advisory Board of Oxford Brookes University before eventually becoming the University’s F1 and Motorsport Industry Consultant. Brian now is the Motorsport Industry Consultant to the University of Wolverhampton.
He has also proved popular during the past twelve months as a cruise ship speaker Whether it as a speaker to motivate a sales force, to deliver a keynote address or simply to entertain a business or after-dinner audience, Brian Sims has the ability to inform, motivate, entertain and amuse. He is most definitely a one-off.
To book Brian Sims as the motorsport speaker for your corporate event, function or conference, simply contact the Champions Speakers agency using the contact details below.
When at corporate events, Brian is known to cover the following topics:
- Motorsport Speaker
- Sports Speaker
- Professional Sales Speaker
- Sales Training Speaker
- Peak Performance
- Success Maximisation
- Business in Sport