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Q&A with Sabine Marsollek

Meet our Deputy General Manager Marketing

Meet our Deputy General Manager Marketing

Deputy General Manager Marketing Sabine Marsollek has a wealth of experience, honed from years of working in motorsport and other industries. Marketing plays a key role in how our brand is represented around the world, linked to Hyundai’s high-performance N brand. Sabine joined in 2014, our first season in WRC, and has been at the forefront of our company’s growth .

Why is marketing important to Hyundai Motorsport?
In a way, Hyundai Motorsport is a marketing project in its own right, so the job we do is hugely important. We showcase Hyundai’s high-performance capabilities to audiences globally. It’s not only victories and podiums that help make Hyundai an even more attractive brand; marketing creates a positive and dynamic image of the brand worldwide.

What responsibilities does your team cover?
Our responsibilities are incredibly varied and have been extended in recent years. From the start in WRC, we developed our VIP Hospitality program, team clothing and merchandise designs, and then added a Co-Drive program, offering guests the chance to ride alongside one of our official drivers. We have also taken responsibility for the Promo Booth, which features a mix of entertainment, games and merchandise to give fans an enjoyable experience.

Brand identity plays a major role; all our branding – across the cars, team clothing and merchandise, hospitality operations, trucks, PR materials and other collaterals – has to be implemented correctly and consistently. We are also in charge of this very website, which features background information on the company and ‘Ntertainment’ for our fans.

Additionally, licensing falls into our remit. We ensure that companies producing our model cars do so to a very high standard – representative of our brand – so fans can own an authentic replica of the car that competes on circuits or stages around the world.

With our expansion into Customer Racing, we now offer a WTCR Hospitality program and also support Hyundai’s involvement in WorldSBK to ensure over 100 guests per race, invited by local markets, have an entertaining time.

What role does your team play in sponsor relations?
We are in charge of acquiring sponsors and partners that have synergies with the ethos of Hyundai Motorsport. We work closely with them to fulfil their agreement and to give them the best outcome from their partnership. This entails branding on relevant platforms, including the Hospitality and Co-Drive program, and communications, so sponsors have the opportunity to enhance their image and maximise exposure to our fans.

How has the marketing strategy evolved during your time with the company?
When I first started, the sole focus of our business was WRC. The aim was to build up Hyundai’s reputation as one of the biggest and most competitive brands in motorsport. With the expansion into Customer Racing, this brought with it a different kind of motorsport and a need to support customers on their own marketing and branding. When we began in WRC, we set new standards with our hospitality and service unit. We’ve now rolled out our experience to provide a variety of unforgettable programs for guests at WRC, WTCR and WorldSBK events. With more activities, there are more responsibilities for us to cover. It’s certainly never boring – no two days are ever the same!

What is special about Hyundai Motorsport?
We are still a relatively young company. When I joined, there was a lot to build and create from scratch; everything was new. We have all worked together to form and shape the marketing strategy to reflect the changing nature of the business. In many companies, things can become routine after a while, but in motorsport you never have a normal working day. That is what makes it special. Everyone who works here knows this and adjusts seamlessly to evolving situations and needs. The team spirit is great; we are fighting together for championships and titles, which makes the job all the more worthwhile. To help deliver this, I have a really superb marketing team working with me.

Has there been a moment that has particularly stood out to you?
For me personally, there are a few moments that really mean a lot. Of course, the first podium in WRC in Mexico 2014 remains a highlight. In Customer Racing, seeing Gabriele Tarquini lift the drivers’ trophy in the inaugural WTCR season was incredible. But 2019 was a very special year as we claimed the WRC title, alongside another successful season in WTCR. We travelled with our own hospitality unit to all European events to welcome guests, media, sponsor partners. We provided catering to the team, the drivers, their managers and families. At the end of the season I joined our customers BRC in Malaysia for the final race and was right at the heart of the celebrations as Norbert Michelisz won the title. On top of that, together with Hyundai headquarters, we won a marketing award for the WSBK program. It was a fantastic year with the teams’ achievements and our marketing team having done a brilliant job.

Experience the emotions of the 2019 WTCR finale, where Norbert Michelisz took the drivers’ title in a showdown at the Race of Malaysia.


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