Circuit of The Americas just announced the newest racing series to join their world-class facility lineup: the American Le Mans Series presented by Tequila Patrón (ALMS). The first ALMS race will take place in less than a year, with the first scheduled race for spring 2013. ALMS is unique because it showcases numerous automotive manufacturers and car builds (the cars do not necessarily look the same) and it is recognized as the Global Leader in Green Racing while continually focusing on alternative energy solutions.
Circuit President Steve Sexton said:
Our vision is to bring premier sports and entertainment programming to Circuit of The Americas and to partner with motorsports organizations that put a premium on innovation, fan experience and environmental sustainability. The American Le Mans Series—with its highly competitive, customer-focused programming and its well-known commitment to Green Racing—certainly fits that vision. The ALMS at Circuit of The Americas will include an endurance race, which will be another thrilling experience for fans. We know ALMS fans to be extremely loyal and engaged, and we look forward to showing them a great time in Central Texas.
This ties in nicely with the announcement earlier this year that Austin-based entrepreneur John Paul DeJoria is the newest COTA investor and reinforces COTA's commitment to building a multi-purpose facility to showcase the world's greatest sport on wheels.
Here's a quick video overview of the 2011 ALMS series:
Earlier today, hundreds of hard-working Austin Commercial workers, contracting businesses and team members were recognized for their hard work at a "Topping Out" ceremony at the Circuit of The Americas. A tradition around the world, Topping Out ceremonies celebrate the completion of structural work on a project as an honorary evergreen tree is placed alongside state and national flags atop the structure; this symbolizes growth and is said to bring ongoing luck to a construction project.
Supporters gathered at the southeast point of the three-leval, 270,000 square foot pit building where the symbolic tree was hoisted after a ceremony. Guests shared in the excitement as Circuit investors Red McCombs and Bobby Epstein presented State Senator Judith Zaffirini, Travis County Commissioner Margaret Gomez, Austin Commercial SVP Bill McAdoo and newly announced Circuit investor and local entrepreneur John Paul DeJoria. They each shared what the premium sports, entertainment and business development facility in southeast Travis County meant to them before placing tokens of today into a time capsule, to be buried and then opened in 25 years.
Red McCombs added a newly-minted silver dollar after joking about holding onto it for its current value. Bobby Epstein included a packet of Texas wild flowers; instead of a previously planned neighborhood in this locale, Circuit of The Americas will work to showcase and preserve the natural beauty of Texas Hill County. State Senator Judith Zaffirini delivered an inspiring speech before rolling up a 2012 Formula 1 driver lineup poster to the time capsule. She highlighted F1 driver Sergio Perez's excitement for Circuit of The Americas as his home circuit and emulated what many Americans already feel, "Mi Casa, Su Casa," in order to open our doors to our international neighbors and friends. Bill McAdoo added a current COTA site plan while John Paul DeJoria dropped a CD of Austin music into the box, signifying our recognition as The Live Music Capitol of The World.
Circuit president Steve Sexton also recognized the hard work and effort of all:
This project has required the continuous efforts from many different groups and individuals throughout the area. This ceremony marks a significant milestone in the construction. It was important for us to celebrate this achievement with the many people that have helped make it possible.
Each of the speakers took time to congratulate the truly stellar team of workers who've worked hard to make this project a reality. In just one year, the project has transformed from little more than a bare piece of land into an amazing display of hard work and dedication from all parties involved.
Following the ceremony, everyone was invited into the neighboring media center to have some good 'ole Salt Lick BBQ. Arguably the best in the state, if not country, Salt Lick proudly served the hundreds of workers and guests their famous menu, complete with ribs, brisket and some blueberry cobbler - Yum!
// Construction Milestones
Here is a list of the latest accomplishments that we are celebrating:
Support beams installed in the highest point of the pit building, which is completely structurally erected;
One third of the pit building's roof has been installed;
More than half of the requisite structural steel has been installed in the permanent grandstand building;
The road base for the racetrack between Turn 19 (T19) and Turn 20 (T20) has been installed;
Exterior stone work on the media, technology and conference center is underway;
Access roads through the paddock area (by the pit building) are taking shape;
Dirt backfill around the Tunnel 1 area has been completed with crews shaping the racetrack to cross over the Tunnel 1 structure;
Topsoil if going into sections of the infield with grass planting to happen next in those areas; and
Amphitheater is taking shape with crews finishing the earth moving to that area.
By the numbers:
3.5 million cubic yards of dirt have been moved on the job to date, with 780,000 cubic yards of dirt brought onto the site;
711.5 tons of steel for the permanent grandstand have been erected
78,000 yards of concrete have been poured; and
550 workers are currently onsite and involved in the construction process.
// Looking Back, Yet Ahead
It's almost hard to believe this is what Circuit of The Americas looked like one short year ago:
Just announced, John Paul DeJoria is supporting Circuit of The Americas as their newest investor. Best known for his international professional hair-care system, Paul Mitchell, Mr. DeJoria also owns one of the hippest and most popular spirit lines in the US - the Patrón Spirits Company, maker of Patrón Tequila (cue latest rap video sippin' Patrón). Most importantly, John Paul is a well-known entrepreneur and philanthropist, particularly in Austin, his hometown.
What some do not know is that DeJoria is also a longtime motorsports enthusiast.
My wife, Eloise, and I attended our first Formula 1 Grand Prix in 1995 with our good friend, the entertainer Cher. We were in Monaco and Michael Schumacher won that year. I will never forget that experience, and I've been in love with Formula 1 ever since. When I learned about the chance to bring F1 to Texas through a facility like Circuit of The Americas, I couldn't wait to be involved.
Alexis DeJoria, her father John Paul DeJoria, and his wife Eloise DeJoria; Photo courtesy of Jerry McClureHis daughter, Alexis DeJoria, also has racing in her blood. She has been a competitive drag racer since 2005 and recently started her first full season in the professional nitro funny car division. Other past success includes racing for Tequila Patrón to become the fastest female driver in the alcohol-burning funny car division, as well as the second fastest driver ever at that level. She is also the first female to ever win a national event in this division in 30 years.
But there's more to this man than great looking hair and sipping tequila while watching a race. DeJoria started selling greeting cards at age 9 to help support his family and later served in the U.S. Navy with honors. He was homeless for a time before getting his break with TIME Magazine in an entry-level marketing position, then parlayed his marketing expertise into the hair-care industry. Joining his friend, Paul Mitchell, they launched John Paul Mitchell Systems and grew the business from a $750 loan in 1980 to annual salon retail sales of $900 million in 2011.
John Paul Mitchell Systems Co-Founders, John Paul DeJoria and Paul MitchelJohn Paul DeJoria's business and philanthropic interests include sustainability and green technology, and he has served as a guest speaker for the United Nations and the Wall Street Journal's Eco-Economics Summit. Environmental protection and awareness is a key component to all of DeJoria's business endeavors, and he was recently recognized for his ongoing efforts to develop clean technology in today's modern world by being named the 2009 Goodwill Ambassador by the Intergovernmental Renewable Organization. Given CoTA's commitment to sustainability in the construction and operation of its venue in southeast Travis County, becoming an investor in the project allowed DeJoria to align his personal and professional missions with a sports and entertainment franchise he's passionate about.
I am all for supporting a project that promotes not only F1, but all forms of racing and year-round family friendly entertainment and multi-purpose community use for Texans. Circuit of The Americas will benefit the region economically and help the community in the process, and to me, that's the definition of a great investment.
John Paul and Eloise DeJoria, at home with their 4-legged family members, in Austin, Texas. Photo by Randal Ford for Austin Fit Magazine.
I just finished reading the story about John Paul and wife, Eloise, in last month's Austin Fit Magazine. Here is a full article for you to get to know them better.
// Back to the Tequila
DeJoria's motorsports connections spread into other types of racing as well. Tequila Patrón of the Patrón Spirits family is the title sponsor for the American Le Mans Series. COTA describes the series:
The Series gives fans non-stop action on the track and an open and friendly paddock, while providing manufacturers with a real-life laboratory to push the limits of automotive innovation and technology. Recent technology breakthroughs in the Series have focused on the environment, such as the development of biofuels, hybrid technology and tire compounds, all leading to more efficient automotive engineering