Famous race cars that set records and pioneered new technologies will take to the track at the first American Speed Festival Sept. 30-Oct. 3 at M1 Concourse in Pontiac.
The inaugural event will also feature two days of live racing by classic cars on M1’s 1.5-mile track, famous drivers, a tour of local automotive events and a charity dinner.
The centerpiece of the weekend is a tribute to the legendary 1960s and ’70s Can-Am race cars, which became famous for unlimited engine power and technical innovation.
Driver and car designer Jim Hall will receive the ASF’s first Master of Motorsports award. Several cars from Hall’s museum in his native Texas will be present, demonstrating the design innovations and performance that made Can-Am one of the most entertaining and influential racing series.
Master innovator bringing cars
“As we honor Jim Hall, we are also showcasing racing innovation.” M1 Concourse CEO Tim McGrane said. “Jim Hall’s advancements in terms of aerodynamics and engineering advancements have far reaching implications for the automotive world.”
Hall is bringing some of his personal race cars, which are coming from his museum. The cars will be on display and run on the track, a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to see vehicles that changed the face of racing.
“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 biography of Hall. “To car crazy kids like me in the 1960s, Jim Hall was the Neil Armstrong of motorsports.”
Other racing greats at ASF will include driver and favorite motor sports analyst David Hobbs and three-time CART champion, Indy 500 winner and team owner Bobby Rahal. Rahal is bringing his newly restored 1966 Eagle-Ford V8 Indy car.
Historic cars, luxurious garages
Here are some of the cars that will be featured at the speed fest:
1952 Hudson Hornet
This is the sole-surviving, authenticated Fabulous Hornet race car that dominated NASCAR from 1951 to 1954 when Hornets won 78 of the 139 races. The car inspired the beloved Doc Hornet character in the animated movie “Cars.”
1969 Ford Mustang R-Code Cobra Jet
This vehicle was the original prototype used as the color pallet car for the development of the original Boss 302 program. This car raced in the 1975 24 Hours of Daytona, where it finished 20th overall with driver-owners David and Richard Mroz.
1970 TRC Ti 22 MKII Can-Am racer
This car used titanium instead of steel for the bulkheads, suspension and subframe. The cars challenged McLaren domination in Can-Am with stiff lightweight construction and innovative aerodynamics. The Ti 22 was the first body design to use side fences to channel the airflow over the body increasing downforce.
The historic race cars will run on M1’s track Friday and Saturday. The best cars in the weekend’s classes will be announced Sunday, when attendees can take track rides in M1’s Dodge and Lexus performance cars.
The weekend’s on-track events will be livestreamed globally. Festival passes cost $75 for adults with children under 12 free.
The weekend kicks off with Thursday’s Dine and Drive, a separate, ticketed event that includes a driving tour of metro Detroit auto history.
Other events with separate tickets include a tour of some of M1’s most elaborate and luxurious private garages on Friday and Saturday’s Checkered Flag Ball, a dinner, dance and reception benefiting the Pontiac Community Foundation, which helps provide transportation for Pontiac residents to community services and programs.
The Speed Festival concludes a busy summer at M1, which also hosted a classic car show in conjunction with the Woodward Dream Cruise and the recent Motor Bella auto show.
Tickets and more details are available at the ASF website.