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Steve Sexton

COTA Announces Entertainment Partner

The "Tower Ampitheater" at Circuit of The Americas. Rendering by Miró Rivera Architects

// Entertainment at COTA

This morning, Circuit of The Americas announced Live Nation as its partner for live entertainment at the newly dubbed, "Tower Amphitheater."  This architecturally iconic piece, designed by Austin-based Miró Rivera Architects, will play host to a wide assortment of entertainment programs including music and performance art.

The COTA executive team and Bob Roux, Co-President of North America Concerts for Live Nation, were on hand to help explain the partnership and the vision for the circuit's entertainment program. 

Live Nation, the world's largest live music and entertainment company, will work to bring entertainment to Austin's newest and largest performance stage. Scheduled for completion in spring 2013, the venue will host acts in conjunction with the beginning of the 2013 race season.

Though many were expecting the venue to be completed in time for the this November's Formula 1 United States Grand Prix, the venue will not be operational this fall. Following the briefing, I learned from Juan Miró that the 251 foot tower will be operational, allowing visitors to take in the view of the 3.4 mile grand prix circuit from high above.

American Le Mans Series Joins COTA Lineup

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.

Click to read the full press release

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:

The Show Must Go On

All eyes on Austin in this time of uncertainty for the Formula One United States Grand Prix, still slated to begin in Austin in one year. Despite the recent interpretations of fact and soundbytes, at the end of the day (well, today at least!) there is still a November 18, 2012 Austin race on the Formula One calendar. Until it is officially removed, we will continue to move in that direction.


Tavo Hellmund and Bernie Ecclestone, President & CEO of Formula One Management (Courtesy of Formula 1 United States)However, overnight F1's Bernie Ecclestone was quoted in The Independent (UK paper) as saying "The [new] contract we proposed to them is 10 years from 2013. We said we would wait for them."

Moments ago, Steve Sexton (President of Circuit of The Americas) issued the following statement:

"We have been excited for and working towards a 2012 USGP race and now understand that Mr. Ecclestone is interested in moving the Austin race to 2013. We know the U.S. market is important to the teams and their sponsors and 2013 certainly allows time for the Circuit of The Americas to be ready."

So, a loose interpretation of these comments suggests that COTA and Ecclestone are re-negotiating the terms of the F1US contract. There are obvious pros and cons for moving a 2012 race to 2013. The most obvious pro is that this allows more time to develop the infrastructure at Circuit of The Americas to its full capabilities to welcome F1, MotoGP and V8 Supercars all together in 2013. Despite having to wait, the most crushing con is that many American F1 fans are again in an emotional state of confusion and anger. Hopefully, as the dust settles from this Texas showdown, we will be able to quickly get back to our state of creativity and excitement.

There are a few events in Austin this weekend that were planned in order to commemorate the one year mark until our first F1 race. Some may think it's a waste of time to continue with our plans. I completely disagree. Instead of focusing on a one year countdown, it is time to celebrate our accomplishments for the past 18 months!

Hundreds of Austinites have banded together to create a vibrant community for a race that isn’t even here yet. For a circuit that is about 40% complete. The fans, supporters and community connectors are due credit for creating worldwide excitement for Austin, Texas 2012. The fans have opened their arms to visitors who have travelled to Austin since May 25, 2010 to scout out what we're all about: to plan their F1 events and business dealings; to get the lay of the land while listening to live music on 6th Street; to "ride the bull" at Rebel's Honky Tonk in the Warehouse district; to watch an F1 race with fans at Cool River Cafe or downtown with us at Six Lounge. Every visitor that we have met with has shared the same reaction: Austin is an amazing town with people that make it extraordinary. The people are extraordinary because they love their city and they love the idea of sharing what it has to offer with friends and visitors.

Hangar Lounge - 318 Colorado Street

This weekend is about celebrating what we’ve accomplished as a community while continuing to look forward to the future of racing in Austin. Here are two events:

Friday, November 18, 8:00PM – 12:00AM
Hangar Lounge, 318 Colorado Street, Austin, Texas
Free admission and Red Bull drink specials
More info on our Facebook event link by clicking here.

Saturday, November 19, 5:00PM – 11:30PM
The Hitchin’ Post, 12100 FM 969, Austin TX
More details on Wild Bubba's Facebook event page by clicking here.

See you this weekend!

Official Statement from Circuit of The Americas on F1 Race in New Jersey

Steve SextonWhile watching the "GP of America at Port Imperial" press conference on Speed, which we will cover in detail shortly, we wanted to share this official statement from Circuit of the Americas:

"The announcement of a New Jersey-based Formula 1 race is great news for motor sports fans in North America. It will be a unique street course race and is yet another acknowledgment of the viability, demand, economic benefit and prestige a Grand Prix brings to a region. The New Jersey race also demonstrates F1's strong commitment to elevating awareness of the sport, which can only help build the fan base." - Steve Sexton, President of Circuit of the Americas 

 Here are some images from the Press Conference (unofficial):


On To Vote Again...

Last night Circuit of the Americas ("COTA") announced that Texas music legends Willie Nelson and Lyle Lovett look forward to performing at The Grand Plaza, the expansive outdoor live music space planned for the world class facility currently under construction. Willie said, "I'm looking forward to playing at the F1 track. Sounds like a great new venue" and Lovett added, "Circuit of The Americas sounds like it will be a world class facility in one of the best places in the world for music.” This reminds me of one of Willie's most famous songs:

Willie Nelson and Sheryl Crow "On the Road Again" live 2007 Crossroads (via MoreSherylCrow)

I chose this specific video so you can get an idea of what a completely packed outdoor live music venue looks like. This show, The 2007 Crossroads Guitar Festival, was on July 28, 2007 at Toyota Park in Bridgeview, Illinois. "Tickets were estimated as sold out for the 28,000 capacity park in 22 minutes" (via Wikipedia). This is just a taste of what we can expect from Lyle, Willie and many other talented musicians at The Grand Plaza at Circuit of the Americas. More details in the Press Release.

Bob Varsha (SPEED TV), Steve Sexton (COTA) and Tavo Hellmund (COTA) discuss the live music venue planned for the facility at the April 14, 2011 Press Conference

Enjoy the tune as you continue to prep for today's Austin City Council meeting, hopefully the last, to proceed with the City of Austin's official endorsement as the sponsoring city for COTA to receive funds from the Texas Major Events Trust Fund. Just like Willie sings in "On the Road Again," we are now "On To Vote Again..."

Here is today's City Council Agenda. Note that there does not appear to be time for Public Comment during today's meeting, so it may move faster than last week's seven hour discusson on F1 topics (!).

Watch it LIVE here:

Alternatively, listen to the live radio feed here:

Just like last week, we will continue to update you throughout the day. The most up-to-date news will be shared in 140 characters via our twitter stream:

However, if you'd like to share any last minute comments, feel free to do so on our Facebook page:

We are very grateful for the support and feedback we receive from YOU - our fans, friends and followers from around the world. We received some really nice and inspiring messages from everyone after last week's meeting. Thank you for your help to MAKE IT HAPPEN!