Tequila Patron will leave the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship at the end of the season, terminating its roles as both a team and series sponsor, as well as all involvement in motorsports, it was announced Monday.
The brand has been the title sponsor of the Tequila Patron North American Endurance Cup as well as Extreme Speed Motorsports, which currently runs under the Tequila Patron ESM banner.
The company was purchased by Bacardi in January for $5.1 billion, while Michelin was previously announced as the title sponsor for the NAEC from 2019, as part of its increased partnership with IMSA.
Tequila Patron and ESM have been partnered for eight years in several different sports car racing series including the WeatherTech Championship, FIA World Endurance Championship and American Le Mans Series.
ESM will continue in the WeatherTech Championship next season and a statement issued by the team said it is “actively pursuing sponsors” for the program.
“On behalf of the entire Extreme Speed Motorsports organization, it has been an honor to represent such an amazing brand for the past 13 years,” said ESM team owner Scott Sharp.
“I have the deepest gratitude for all of Ed Brown’s support. Together we have tackled various challenges, won races at each step, and built ESM into such an incredible team.
“Simultaneously, it has been thrilling to watch Ed and his team build the Patron brand in a meteoric fashion and along the way become an icon in the motorsports world.
“We will miss not carrying the now infamous green and black livery, but the same passion for excellence will remain.”
ESM’s partnership with Nissan and Onroak Automotive, constructors of its customer-based DPi, was initiated as a two-year deal in 2017, with Patron Spirits CEO Brown understood to have financed IMSA’s required manufacturer marketing commitment to compete with the package.
Patron has also ended it involvement in NHRA, having previously sponsored Alexis DeJoria, daughter of Patron Spirits co-founder John Paul.
“I’m proud that our involvement in motorsports introduced Patrón Tequila to so many new and loyal consumers across the world,” Brown said.
“Though we’ll no longer have a presence at racing competitions, I can promise I’ll always be a lifelong fan of the sport!”
Atherton: Patron a “Benchmark” Partner
IMSA President Scott Atherton says Patron’s involvement in IMSA, which dates back to 2008 with sponsorship of Highcroft Racing and the entitlement sponsorship of the Patron GT3 Challenge the following year, is a “benchmark” example of a brand’s involvement and activation.
Patron had also served as the presenting sponsor of the ALMS from 2010-13.
“All associated with IMSA – competitors, promoter partners, series officials and fans – will miss the iconic Tequila Patrón brand next year,” Atherton said.
“On behalf of IMSA, we thank CEO Ed Brown and Tequila Patrón for all they have done over the many years to help us grow IMSA and the sport as a whole. We’re more proud than words can express to have counted Tequila Patrón among our family of premium brand partners.
“Tequila Patrón’s involvement on-and-off the track has been a benchmark example by every measure. We will look forward to finishing up our 2018 season in the strongest and most successful way possible and will look forward to the opportunity to work together again in the future.”
John Dagys contributed to this report