Friday, March 9, 2012

Austin MotoGP in doubt?

MotoGP's planned 2013 debut at the new circuit being built in Austin, Texas is reported to be under threat due to 'contract issues'.

A ten-year MotoGP deal with the Circuit of the Americas was announced last April and followed hot on the heels of an agreement with Formula One, which will see the four-wheel grand prix championship debut in 2012.

But both agreements were put in doubt by a series of 'complications', most significantly the departure of original promoter Tavo Hellmund. F1 subsequently reached a new arrangement with the circuit owners, but that appears not to yet be the case for MotoGP.

According to Austin newspaper, 1993 world champion and Texan native Kevin Schwantz has sent a letter to Steve Sexton, president of Circuit of the Americas, urging him to take action.

As well as advising on the design of the circuit, Schwantz is manager of 3FourTexas MGP, which closed the original ten-year deal alongside Dorna and Hellmund's Full Throttle Productions company. 

Schwantz wrote: "I urge you one final time to contact Mr. [Tavo] Hellmund about obtaining the rights to host a MotoGP race in Texas, after which I would be glad to open discussions with you as the new promoter. If you have not obtained such rights from Full Throttle, then unfortunately Circuit of the Americas will not be included as a round of the FIM Grand Prix Road Racing World Championship."

In an email to The Statesman, Sexton expressed confidence that a major two-wheeled championship would be on the circuit's 2013 schedule, but seemed to confirm that no deal is yet in place.

"We are in discussions with several major race series who have reached out to us, and our confidence is high that three to five major world-class events, including a two-wheel championship, will be on the 2013 schedule - and that these races will take place under terms favorable to the Circuit and the series owners."

Existing American MotoGP venues Laguna Seca and Indianapolis have a contract in place until 2014.

The inaugural Austin F1 Grand Prix is scheduled to take place on November 16-18.


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