AUSTIN, Texas — With its first race less than two months away, the Circuit of the Americas has another battle on its hands.
Former MotoGP world champion Kevin Schwantz — and his company 3FourTexas — has filed a lawsuit against the track.
(COTA Responds To Schwantz Lawsuit, Click Here For More)
Schwantz’s company entered into an agreement with Tavo Hellmund’s Full Throttle Promotions and Dorna, the rights holders of MotoGP, in the spring of 2011 when Hellmund was spearheading the construction of the Circuit of the Americas.
However, Hellmund was forced out of the track’s leadership structure and involvement with the upcoming Formula One race at the track when he was said to be in breach of his F-1 contract with its leader Bernie Ecclestone.
Now while MotoGP leadership said it expects to race in Texas in 2013, Schwantz is stuck in the middle of the dispute between COTA and Hellmund and because of the involvement of Full Throttle Promotions, COTA officials must negotiate with Hellmund for the release of the contract to Schwantz. At this point, they have been unwilling to do so.
As a result, Schwantz filed his suit on Friday.
“I have devoted over 25 years of my life to MotoGP, the premier motorcycle road racing world championship. I spent four of those years bringing MotoGP to Texas, my home state. As a result, MotoGP agreed in 2011 to host an annual race at Austin’s Circuit of the Americas (COTA) track,” said Schwantz in a prepared statement.
“I’m sorry to say that COTA is now attempting to unlawfully force me out of this project. I believe COTA has committed fraud in doing so. Earlier today, I took legal action against COTA. I was forced to file this lawsuit in order to protect my rights, my reputation, and MotoGP itself.
“I want to see MotoGP come to Texas, but I cannot allow COTA to take advantage of me. More important, I will not sit idly by while a newcomer to racing discredits the sport I love.”
COTA officials maintain the issue is as simple as the track not possessing the rights to hold a MotoGP race in 2013.