Premium brands have been moving to secure the naming rights in racing series around the world. Rolex sponsors the Daytona sportscar championship. IZOD recently took center stage in the IndyCar Series. But while liquor brands have been sponsoring individual cars and teams for decades – think Martini, Crown Royal or even the various breweries active in NASCAR – premium tequila distiller Patron has taken it a step further.
The tequila brand has been sponsoring cars in the American Le Mans Series (the U.S. affiliate of the famous French endurance race) for years, including the championship-winning Acura prototypes of Highcroft Racing. Now the company has secured the naming rights for the entire series, which will henceforth be known as the American Le Mans Series Presented by Tequila Patron. The company's president will even be driving a Ferrari F430 GT2 in this year's championship, bearing the ironically lime-green color scheme of the Patron brand.
The involvement of liquor companies in car racing has drawn considerable controversy, as advocates point out that drinking and driving don't mix. Some spirit purveyors, however, have used their sponsorship as part of drunk-driving awareness programs.