Further legal upsets surfaced Friday regarding the arrival of MotoGP at the Circuit of the Americas (COTA) in Austin, Texas.
Kevin Schwantz, president of 3fourTexasMGP, LLC., which initially struck a deal with the promoter of MotoGP, Dorna Sports LLC, and the promoter of COTA, Full Throttle Productions, to bring MotoGP to COTA, has filed suit against the circuit and its president, Steve Sexton.
The suit states “through tortious interference and fraud, COTA and Sexton encouraged Dorna to breach and purportedly terminate 3four’s agreement to avoid the obligation to pay 3four.”
Following the filing, the 1993 MotoGP Champion Schwantz commented: “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.
“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 (Friday), 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.”
This just adds to the drama surrounding MotoGP arriving at COTA, which will host its first Formula 1 race this November.
Schwantz, a native of Texas, spent years attempting to bring MotoGP to his home state, and with the construction of COTA, everything seemed in place. After numerous communications with Sexton, Dorna Sports LLC., and Full Throttle Productions, a contract was struck in April 2011 – MotoGP would arrive in Texas for 10 years beginning in 2013.
But complications followed. Earlier this year, the manager of Full Throttle Productions, former F1 driver Tavo Hellmund, who first envisioned the creation of Circuit of the Americas, sued his COTA project partners, which included investors, stating they forced him out of the management group.
Hellmund, who was able to land contracts for Formula 1, MotoGP, and Australian V8 Supercars through his motorsports contacts like Schwantz, alleges COTA investors were attempting to take over the project he first conceived. And due to legal manners of the suit, Hellmund was out.
And with Hellmund and Full Throttle Productions out of the picture, there would be no deal with Dorna to bring MotoGP to Austin. Following this news, Schwantz sent a letter to Sexton, stating “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 June, Hellmund settled the suit with COTA, which allowed Schwantz to begin discussions with Dorna and COTA officials regarding the contract to bring MotoGP to COTA.
And this brings us to the current issue, Schwantz now alleging he’s being forced out of the negotiations. And due to this, one of the biggest names in MotoGP is having legal complications with the Circuit of the Americas.
And Schwantz is huge – he has 25 GP wins, and following his retirement from racing in 1995, the FIM retired his #34 as a sign of respect. And in 2000, the FIM declared Schwantz a legend, the organization’s highest honor, as a “testament to his popularity with fans and fellow drivers alike.”
Stay clicked to UltimateMotorCycling.com for further developments.