American Speed Festival: A September/October Motorsports Celebration

IndyCar star Gill DeFerran and Jim Hall himself hustle a pair of vintage Chaparral Can-Am cars through the Corkscrew at Laguna Seca in 2009. Photo by Dan R. Boyd / Motorsport Images

On September 30, the long-awaited 2021 American Speedway Festival will debut at Pontiac, Michigan’s new M1 Concourse, a unique celebration of speed – past, present, and future — that is unlike any other in North America.

The Festival will feature many of the greatest drivers, designers, and cars in motorsports, but unlike a static car show, it will include two days of live racing events on the Speed Ring, M1 Concourse’s 1.5-mile road course.

“The upcoming American Speed Festival will 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,” said 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 M1 Mobility initiative working with the Pontiac Community Foundation.”

Photo: M1 Consourse

Each year, the ASF will have a featured class of cars and honor a legend of the industry. This year’s 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 one of the Can-Am’s greatest innovators, Jim Hall.

“As we honor Jim Hall, we are also showcasing racing innovation,” said McGrane. “Hall’s advancements [in] aerodynamics and engineering had far-reaching implications for the automotive world. It is our honor to be showcasing and running his personal race cars, which will be coming directly from his museum in Texas.”

Photo: M1 Consourse

“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 author of an upcoming authorized biography of Hall do out later this year. “To car-crazy kids like me in the 1960s, Jim Hall was the Neil Armstrong of motorsports.”

Other racing stars on hand will be 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 run; and Hall’s contemporary in the Motorsport Hall of Fame, David Hobbs.

The American Speed Festival kicks off on Thursday, Sept. 30, with an exclusive “Dine and Drive” event through Metro Detroit for behind-the-scenes looks at some of the Motor City’s great automotive history.

Friday and Saturday, Oct. 1-2, feature high-speed on-track activity on the Speed Ring. Sunday, Oct. 3, it’s the ASF Exposition, a judged competition featuring the best-of-the-best car classes during the weekend and a chance to enthusiasts to get up close to some of the world’s great cars.

Photo: M1 Consourse

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.

Other separately ticketed events include Friday evening’s ASF Garage Reveal and Saturday evening’s Checkered Flag Ball, which is a benefit.

The Garage Reveal is a unique opportunity to peek inside some of the most extraordinary built-out workshops. The evening includes a trip along the “Bourbon Trail,” with tastings, pairings of food, wine, and spirits.

The Checkered Flag Ball on Saturday starts with a Cocktail Reception followed by Dinner and Jazz Performance by Quincy Stewart, the Master of Motorsports Award Presentation, then concludes with the M1 After Party – Dancing and Dessert with music by Ben Sharkey.

Tickets for American Speed Festival are on sale now at $75 for adults and free for children 12 and under. Evening events are ticketed separately. Food and beverages are sold separately.

Ticket purchase information and a full events schedule are available at americanspeedfestival.com.