Entrepreneurial spirit fuels Pamplin student and professional race car driver Daniel Silvestri – Virginia Tech Daily
But, Silvestri said, being a good racecar driver is more than just what one can do on the racetrack.
“The racing is the fun part of the job, but the real work is making sure I can afford to race the next weekend,” he said.
That’s where Silvestri draws a parallel between his life on the track and his life at Pamplin.
“Racing is very entrepreneurial in and of itself,” he said. “In racing, you need to be able to fund your operation, meaning you need to raise thousands and thousands of dollars. That means working with sponsors and really marketing yourself.”
According to Silvestri, much of that marketing is done via different social media platforms.
“I’m always trying to build my brand across social media,” said Silvestri. “I spend a lot of time reaching out, messaging people, businesses. Cold calling is rough, and you knock on doors not knowing who, or what, you’ll find. It’s a lot of no’s, but sometimes you get a yes. And that makes all the work worth it.”
Balancing college with a budding career in racing is a lot for Silvestri — or any 19-year-old, for that matter. However, he credits the support and flexibility of Pamplin faculty for enabling him to continue to pursue his passion.
“It’s actually not too bad balancing the two, as I’ve been doing it for a while now,” he said. “When I was in middle school and high school, I was missing a lot of Fridays, having to move tests and assignments around. If anything, being in college made everything a little easier because my classes were not every day, and the faculty were accommodating. It is all about establishing open lines of communication.”
This summer, Silvestri plans on racing every other weekend while also working as a driver coach at his home track for the younger generation looking to follow in his footsteps.
“I’ll be at the racetrack pretty much every weekend this summer,” he said. “Which is pretty normal for me by now.”
As for his future as a professional race car driver, Silvestri shows no signs of slowing down.
“The next step is to move into one of the top three racing divisions of NASCAR,” he explained. “I’m currently in the fifth division with the Weekly Racing Series.”
Making the move to a higher division will utilize as much of Silvestri’s skills off the track as on it. Luckily, he has his Pamplin business education to assist him along the way.
“Because of how much racing operations cost, it’s more about how much money you can bring in to fund a team,” he said. “I check all the boxes already on the racetrack, now it is about, ‘Can I foot this bill the team needs me to pay to go and race?’ That’s kind of where I’m at right now, working toward 2023.”
Silvestri continued, “The key is being able to find partners and people willing to work with me to make this happen. The best way I know how to do that is by getting my name out there and to put what I’ve learned in the classroom around business into practice.”