TOTAL A Motorsport Pioneer
TOTAL South Africa's involvement in motorsport began in 1957 when it sponsored the Lourenço Marques Rally. TOTAL South Africa's decision to become involved in motorsport, as natural as it may seem, was a major marketing coup which gave the TOTAL brand immediate recognition, not only in South Africa, but also abroad, as the TOTAL International Rally, as it became known in 1958, grew in popularity over the years. The established oil companies did not warmly welcome TOTAL's entry into the South African market at the time, and in fact, TOTAL was given one year before it would disappear from the scene. However, the prophets of doom had miscalculated the resolve and marketing abilities of the early management's of TOTAL.
The sponsorship of motorsport, was a pioneering feat at a time when sport sponsorships was hardly of any marketing or promotional importance in South Africa. At the same time the company entered the agricultural market with a vengeance and completely revolutionised the supply of petroleum products in this market. Twenty years later, in 1977, TOTAL set it's sights on pioneering another first in South Africa by sponsoring an economy run, based on a similar event sponsored by TOTAL Great Britain, which was aimed at demonstrating fuel efficiency through good driving and maintenance.
The TOTAL South Africa Rally, TOTAL South Africa Economy Run and other motorsport sponsorships have been instrumental in evolving the TOTAL brand and making it synonymous with motoring in South Africa. It is a trademark that continues the proud history of motorsport sponsorship by the TOTAL Group, as in France, where the company enjoys a highly successful sponsorship of the Peugeot and Citroën teams in the World Rally Championship. The TOTAL South Africa Rally is organized by the Pretoria branch of the Sports Club of South Africa, who, together with TOTAL South Africa have grown the event into a tour de force on the motoring calendar, providing a memorable spectacle for thousands of rally enthusiasts.
The success of its sponsorship of motorsport can be attributed to the strategic focus and understanding of a company that realized at an early stage that as consumers of its products, motor car owners would benefit greatly from the knowledge gained through the testing of its products in high performance situations. As arguably the most recognized brand in motor sport, TOTAL's involvement over more than 51 years has not only resulted in a major increase in the popularity of the sport, but has also seen ongoing development of new talent in the sport of motor racing.