American Speed Festival Will Debut Sept. 30-Oct. 3 at M1 Concourse

Photo: M1 Concourse

Pontiac, MI – An all-new event that organizers are calling a premier celebration of speed — past, present and future — is coming to the M1 Concourse in Pontiac, Mich. The Sept. 30-Oct. 3 inaugural American Speed Festival (ASF) will celebrate driving at speed and motorsport competition, along with showcasing some of the greatest performance and race cars in the world.

Its 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.

With more than 200 distinguished automobiles drawn from OEMs and collections around the world, ASF will combine a world-class display of automotive engineering and design with live racing action on M1 Concourse’s 1.5-mile road course, Champion Motor Speedway. Watch the promo video.

“The American Speed Festival will bring together the best elements of the automotive world in one place this September,” said Tim Hartge, chief marketing officer of Pontiac Motorsport Exhibition (PME), the promoter of the new event. “The advantage we have of doing this event here 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.

“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,” said Dave Sherman, interim chief executive officer of PME. “This will truly be a celebration of racing and performance, and we will have experiences and elements that will appeal to every age.”

Each year, the American Speed Festival will have a featured class of cars and honor a legend of the industry.

Jim Hall’s Chaparral 2E being demonstrated at the Goodwood Festival of Speed in 2018. Jeff Bloxham/Motorsport Images

“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,” said Hartge. “Jim Hall is truly legendary for the advancements he made to racing in terms of aerodynamics and engineering.”

“I don’t know that there is anyone who, by himself, changed the sport of auto racing globally as much as Jim Hall,” said 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. “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 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 American Speed Festival Can Am Kick Off reception 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 and Q&A sessions and seminars.

M1 Event Center

Friday evening will be a special “Rev Up the Grill” 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 501c3 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 to enthusiasts to get up close to some of the greatest cars in North America and the world.

This American Speed Festival will cap off two weeks of automotive excellence at M1 Concourse. The facility was also just selected to host the 2021 Motor Bella event on Sept. 21-26, a “bridge to the future” outdoor auto-centric event that will temporarily replace the cancelled North American International Auto Show normally held in downtown Detroit.