Inaugural American Festival of Speed Comes to M1 Concourse Sept. 30 to Oct. 3

With more than 200 distinguished automobiles drawn from OEMs and collections around the world, the inaugural American Festival of Speed will combine a world-class auto exposition with live racing action at M1 Concourse in Pontiac from Sept. 30 to Oct. 3.
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M1 Concourse
The inaugural American Festival of Speed will combine an auto exposition with live racing at M1 Concourse in Pontiac. // File photo

With more than 200 distinguished automobiles drawn from OEMs and collections around the world, the inaugural American Festival of Speed will combine a world-class auto exposition with live racing action at M1 Concourse in Pontiac from Sept. 30 to Oct. 3.

The event will follow Motor Bella at M1 Concourse that runs from Sept. 21-26, which will bring next-generation mobility and vehicle debuts to media, show-goers, and automotive enthusiasts. Motor Bella replaces the traditional North American International Auto Show for this year.

The American Festival of Speed will showcase excellence in automotive engineering and design, as well as celebrate driving at speed, including the thrill of motorsport competition. The cars will race on M1 Concourse’s 1.5-mile road course, called Champion Motor Speedway.

“The American Speed Festival will bring together the best elements of the automotive world into one place this September,” says Tim Hartge, chief marketing officer of Pontiac Motorsport Exhibition (PME), the promoter of the new event.

“The advantage we have of doing this event at M1 Concourse is that people will be able to see,  hear, and be up close to some of the greatest performance and race cars in the world. This is not a static car show”

Going forward, the annual American Speed Festival will have a featured class of cars and honor a legend of the industry.

“We’ve studied some of the best automotive events around the world, and we’re taking the best elements of all those shows and bringing them here to M1 Concourse with the American Speed Festival,” says Dave Sherman, interim CEO of PME.  “This will truly be a celebration of racing and performance, and we will have experiences and elements that will appeal to everyone from 8 to 80 years of age.”

The featured class 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, who is scheduled to attend and be part of the event.

“What’s so important about having the Can Am cars here and honoring Jim Hall is that it fits right in with how we want to showcase innovation in racing and the automotive world,” says Hartge. “Jim Hall is truly legendary for the advancements he made to racing in terms of aerodynamics and engineering advancements.”

George Levy, president of the Motorsport Hall of Fame of America and the author of an upcoming authorized biography of Hall that will come out in 2021, 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.”

The American Speed Festival will kick off on Thursday, Sept. 30 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. Thursday evening’s “Motor Grille” will be open to the public.

Friday and Saturday will feature high-speed on-track activity for past, present, and future race and performance vehicles, utilizing the M1 Concourse “Speed Ring” for single-car time trials, as well as guest appearances, autograph sessions, Q&A sessions, and seminars.

Friday evening will be a special “ASF Garage Reveal” event that will bring together the drivers, owners, and industry insiders for an evening of fun and bench racing.

Saturday evening will be the Checkered Flag Ball to benefit the Checkered Flag Challenge, a new 501(c)3 supporting organizations that are changing lives in Pontiac.

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.

“This is the place to be at the end of September,” says Hartge. “You’ll find the best cars, the best food and spirits, and the best people in the industry… all gathering at M1 Concourse.  It is the best of the best and you won’t want to miss it.”

Tickets are on sale now, and pricing for the day’s events includes all food and beverages.  Evening events are ticketed separately. Tickets are limited, and purchasing information, a full schedule of events, and sponsorship opportunities are now available here. A video also can be accessed here.

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