As previewed earlier this month on VintageMotorsport.com, the inaugural American Speed Festival at M1 Concourse, a celebration of speed – past, present, and future — that honors some of the greatest drivers, designers, and cars in motorsports, opens on Thursday and will run through the weekend.
Unlike a static car show, the Sept. 30-Oct. 3 Festival will feature two days of live time trials on the Speed Ring, M1 Concourse’s 1.5-mile road course. There are RC cars for kids, a chance for a ride on the track, live music, food and spirits each day as well.
Friday and Saturday feature high-speed on-track activity utilizing the M1 Concourse “Speed Ring.” Speed Ring Single Car Time Trials feature six classes:
Class 1: Can Am Car
Class 2: Indy Car
Class 3: Endurance Car
Class 4: Stock Car
Class 5: Feature Car
Class 6: Super Car
Friday and Saturday activities on track will be livestreamed on M1 and American Speed Festival social channels produced by nationally known racing television at SPEEDSPORT TV and hosted by long-time network motorsport television host Ralph Sheheen.
The first “Master of Motorsports” award will go to Motorsports Hall of Fame racing innovator Jim Hall. It will be presented at The Checkered Flag Ball, Saturday Oct 2. The ball is a fundraiser for M1’s charitable arm, the Checkered Flag Challenge which is funding a new initiative called M1 Mobility in partnership with Pontiac Community Foundation to provide transportation to Pontiac residents so they can access services.
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. Sunday, guests can 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.
Thursday, Sept. 30 is the exclusive “Dine and Drive” tour and behind the scenes looks at some of the great automotive history of the Motor City. Followed by Thursday evening’s Motor Grille. Friday evening is the ASF Garage Reveal Saturday evening’s Checkered Flag Ball which is a benefit.
Of note, four of Jim Hall’s historic Chaparrals from the Petroleum Museum in Midland, Texas, will be onsite, including the Chaparral 2, 2E, 2F, 2K. All but 2K will run and be driven by Hall family members.
The 1901 Henry Ford Sweepstakes race car exact replica will be on site doing demonstration runs Friday and Saturday through a collaboration with The Henry Ford to celebrate the 120-year anniversary of Henry Ford’s first “race car” that he raced and won with on Oct. 10, 1901 in nearby Grosse Pointe.
Also on hand will be a collection of vintage Indy Cars:
Bobby Rahal – 1966 Eagle-Ford Indy car (Rahal will be on site)
Pete Klain – 1974 Riley
Bruce Linsmeyer – 1968 Lotus Turbine
Rick Dresang – 1974 Eagle
Joe Freeman – 1960 Ewing
1952 Kurtis 500A
Ray Skillman – 1960 Ewing
Cory Hoonhout – 1986 Lola
Richard Morrison – 1964 Huffaker
Chuck Jones – 1972 Parnelli VPJ-1
Janet Guthrie’s 1978 ninth-place finishing Wildcat Mk III (Ms. Guthrie will be inducted into the Motorsports Hall of Fame at M1 earlier in the week).
Finally, the exhibit will feature two GT1 prototypes developed through the acquisition of Ford’s final 30 remaining chassis of the venerable first-generation Ford GT. This is the only (and last) first-generation GT to ever be offered in such a configuration, developed and tested by M1 Motorsports Club member Fred Calero.
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. For ticket purchase information and a full schedule of events, click HERE.