Officials at M1 Concourse at Woodward Avenue and South Boulevard in Pontiac have announced new details of the inaugural American Speed Festival that will debut Sept. 30 and run through Oct. 3.
The American Speed Festival, designed to be a celebration of speed — past, present, and future — promises to be a car enthusiast event unlike any other in North America, according to organizers. It recognizes some of the greatest drivers, designers, and cars in motorsports but unlike a static car show, features two days of live racing in the Speed Ring on M1 Concourse’s 1.5-mile road course.
“The American Speed Festival allows race fans to get close to some of the greatest performance and race cars in the world and learn more about some of the legends of the sport,” says Tim McGrane, CEO of M1 Concourse. “It’s fitting too that our first event in the new Event Center will honor race legend Jim Hall and will benefit our new initiative with the Pontiac Community Foundation, M1 Mobility.”
To make the event more accessible to families, officials announced the Festival Pass is now $75 a person with children under 12 getting in free.
“After the success of our recent Woodward Dream Show a few weeks back, we listened to our customers and we’re announcing new, family-friendly prices,” says Dave Sherman, vice president of signature events at M1. “We created a new price for admission, and opportunities to purchase food and drinks separately and added daily live entertainment, including music and RC cars for kids to race themselves. We have also created free rides with a professional driver on Sunday on the M1 Concourse circuit. So, this is truly a celebration of racing and performance for our guests.”
Each year, the American Speed Festival will have a featured class of cars and honor a legend of the industry. The featured class this inaugural year will be the legendary Can Am race cars from the 1960s and 1970s, and the first “Master of Motorsports” award will go to Motorsport Hall of Fame racing innovator Jim Hall.
“As we honor Jim Hall, we are also showcasing racing innovation,” says McGrane. “Jim Hall’s advancements in terms of aerodynamics and engineering advancements have far-reaching implications for the automotive world. It is our honor to be showcasing and running his personal race cars, which are coming directly from his museum in Texas.”
George Levy, president of the Motorsport Hall of Fame of America and the author of an upcoming authorized biography of Hall, says, “I don’t know that there is anyone who, by himself, changed the sport of auto racing globally as much as Jim Hall. To car crazy kids like me in the 1960s, Jim Hall was the Neil Armstrong of motorsports during that time.”
Other racing stars of note featured at ASF include legendary Indy 500 champion driver and team owner Bobby Rahal, who will bring his newly restored 1966 Eagle-Ford V8 Indy car to ASF for demonstration runs and motorsport Hall of Famer David Hobbs.
A global livestream of the on-track events on Friday and Saturday of the ASF will be produced by nationally known racing television producers at SpeedSport TV, and hosted by long-time network motorsport television host Ralph Shaheen, who has done broadcasts for FOX, NBC, CBS, and MAV-TV.
On Saturday, Oct. 1, M1 will be hosting the Checkered Flag Ball that will benefit M1 Mobility, a new initiative in partnership with Pontiac Community Foundation to provide transportation solutions that connect Pontiac residents with essential community services and programs. The ball will start with a cocktail reception followed by dinner and a jazz performance by Quincy Stewart, the Master of Motorsports Award Presentation, and concludes with the M1 After Party with dancing and dessert with music by Ben Sharkey.
The event kicks off with an exclusive “Dine and Drive” event throughout metro Detroit for behind the scenes looks at some of the great automotive history of the Motor City. This is a separate ticketed event.
Friday and Saturday feature high-speed on-track activity utilizing the M1 Concourse “Speed Ring.” Sunday will feature the American Speed Festival Exposition, a judged competition of the best of the best car classes during the weekend, and a chance for enthusiasts to get up close to some of the greatest cars in North America and the world.
Also on Sunday guests have the opportunity to ride in either a Dodge or Lexus M1 Concourse Performance fleet car with a professional driver on the M1 Concourse circuit. There is no fee.
Another separately ticketed event is the Friday evening ASF Garage Reveal, an opportunity to peek inside some of M1’s most extraordinary built-out garages. The evening includes a trip along the “Bourbon Trail” with tastings, pairings of food, wine, and spirits.
For more information and tickets, visit here.