Circuit Of the Americas Lawsuit Settled

Cycle News Staff | June 10, 2012

The lawsuit between race promoter Tavo Hellmund and Circuit of the Americas officers and investors, has been settled according to reports in the American-Statesman, a newspaper in Austin, Texas, though how it affects the 10-year contract for MotoGP at the facility remains to be seen.

The Statesman has reported today that circuit chairman Bobby Epstein has confirmed the settlement, though details were not disclosed from either side.

Hellmund was seeking unspecified damages, claiming the circuit had stopped paying his $500,000 yearly salary. A hearing in state District Court was scheduled for Monday to determine whether Hellmund’s suit would be heard in court or go to arbitration, which would not have been public. Earlier, the American-Statesman had joined the suit to object to court documents being sealed, arguing that public money would be involved in the $300-million track.

Circuit of the Americas is scheuduled to host its first Formula One race in November and has just begun selling tickets to that event, which could have as many as 300,000 spectators over a three-day weekend, according to the Statesman.

The Statesman is reporting that “Hellmund’s suit claims the two parties had reached agreement on an $18 million settlement, but that was when Hellmund held the promotional rights to the F1 race. That buyout was never consummated, and Hellmund’s contract with F1 was voided by Bernie Ecclestone because payments to F1 had not been made.”

There’s no word on whether the settlement will affect the circuit’s chances for a MotoGP race next year. A 10-year contract for the race involved Hellmund and former 500cc World Champion Kevin Schwantz. According to the Statesman, as of now the track is not advertising a MotoGP race.

In a statement, Hellmund said, “I hope this puts the matter behind us all.”

Brad Seidel, Hellmund’s attorney, told the Statesman yesterday that, “Late last night, the parties in this case were able to conclude their dispute in a confidential, out-of-court settlement. We hope this bodes well for Austin’s F1 project, and we look forward to seeing Tavo’s dream of a fantastic race happen in November.”