The first thing to realise is that being sponsored means far more than getting free or discounted products.
I'm now in my second year of sponsorship with one of the major distributors over here in the UK. I was 6th in the UK 19t tc and mod 12th scale nationals last year, and I feel the deal I have is representative of my ability at the moment.
I have a 'B-team' deal, which equates to a pretty good discount on all the stuff I buy from them. However, don't be fooled into thinking that having a sponsorship deal of any kind will make your racing any cheaper. I have found that my outlay has increased significantly since I've had some backing.
I have found that being sponsored has given my racing more purpose. I am representing several companies and brands, so it's important that I conduct myself in a manner that makes me seem approachable to other drivers. With the responsibility of representing a brand comes that bit of added pressure too. Even if it isnt specified, you feel as if you need to deliver, especially at the bigger meetings, and this adds a slightly more serious edge to my racing.
As a result of the above, I tend to have more equipment now than I did before. If I'm getting a motor half price, I'll more often than not buy two, instead of pocketing the saving. I also feel as though I should buy the latest products that my sponsor is selling. After all, what use am I to them if I'm running a motor that has been replaced with a newer version? (even if theres nothing wrong with the original!)
Bear all this in mind when applying for sponsorship. Good results aren't everything, but they do help. There isnt one attribute that in itself will get you a deal. I have known several drivers in the past that have found it hard to get a sponsorship deal, despite being very talented and having good results underneath them. In contrast, I've seen many less able drivers get deals because they are friendly, helpful and have a wealth of product knowledge.
Don't worry though, it's not all doom and gloom! I do actually enjoy representing the companies who sponsor me. It's something I'm very proud of, and I consider it a prevelidge to be able to represent the various companies/brands who sponsor me.
Finally, if you're going to buy a new car, make sure it's a hot-bodies moorespeed cyclone. Run Orion or Nosram electrics in it, with Edit aftermarket upgrades. If you use foam tyres it's got to be GRP, and for tools use hudy; there's nothing better. I can also recommend TiR's excellent products and Microtech Racing's (UK shop) excellent service!