Horsepower is a lifestyle at the American Speed Festival

Images by Brian Sevald/M1 Concourse

Horsepower is a lifestyle at the American Speed Festival

The American Speed Festival at the M1 Concourse facility outside of Detroit in Pontiac, Mich. enters has its second go-around from September 29 through October 2. It’s a performance automotive and motorsports event with a twist. There’s a varied field of cars that span from a Ferrari Monza SP1 and Ford GT on the contemporary spectrum to a 1968 Ford GT40 MkI, a Gene White Mongoose Ford Indy Car, and the very first “new” 1963 Cobra CSX2154 race car sold on the historic end of the scale. But, unlike most track events, the American Speed Festival aims to be more of a lifestyle affair that pairs a celebration of speed with good food and relaxed ambiance allowing for a comingling of entrants with spectators.

“We’re building a social activity around cars on track as opposed to a car event that people attend,” explains Tim McGrane, CEO of M1 Concourse. “With our brand-new event center and hospitality area being the epicenter of the event makes it more about a community of people who share a passion for all things performance automotive and motorsports.”

Reinforcing the cars as the centerpiece, the American Speed Festival features an open paddock bereft of transporters and other elements that can often get in the way of a more intimate setting for people and the cars.

“We try to feature all the cars concentrated together to provide a real showcase for the cars and a real opportunity for people to mill about them,” McGrane adds.

American Speed Festival fans rub shoulders with competitors and owners in a relaxed atmosphere.

In addition to the great lineup of feature cars, the American Speed Festival’s other centerpiece includes a discussion with Peter Brock, who worked so closely with Carroll Shelby to design and build the most advanced American sports cars of the 1960s and early ’70s. Brock went on to found Brock Racing Enterprises (BRE), responsible for the Datsun 510s and 240Zs that dominated the Trans Am ranks.

“In the history of Shelby Cars there’s nobody more important — other than Carroll — in making them a success on and off the track than Peter Brock,” says McGrane. “We were really honored when he accepted the opportunity to be a part of the American Speed Festival.”

The American Speed Festival gets underway on Thursday, September 29 with the “Drive & Dine Tour” featuring a guided tour of a large private car collection followed “Motor Grille” back at M1 Concourse which includes a wine tasting, great food, spirits and conversation.

Friday and Saturday feature plenty of track action with eight classes including a class for Shelby Cars, another for Ferraris in honor of the marque’s 75th anniversary and Vintage Indy making their fifth and final appearance of 2022. All of the track sessions are designed to be timed, high-speed demonstration runs rather than wheel-to-wheel races with the exception of the Vintage Indy class.

Trackside viewing opportunities are plentiful at M1 Concourse.

Saturday night also features the Checkered Flag Ball to benefit M1 Mobility, an initiative of M1’s philanthropic arm, Checkered Flag Challenge, and the Pontiac Community Foundation, to provide transportation solutions for those in need within the community of Pontiac.

Sunday, October 2 draws the American Speed Festival to a close with the Speed & Style Expo celebrating cars that have speed, style or both. Inside the M1 Event Center, an art expo will feature an array of automotive art that includes, paintings, photography and sculptures from a dozen artists mostly based in the Midwest.

Whether for a day, or all four, the American Speed Festival presents the ideal opportunity for car lovers to get out to M1 Concourse for a relaxed, but interesting weekend of food, drink and conversation amid the spectacle of rarely seen and exciting cars both in action as well in the paddock for up close viewing.

In keeping with the intimate nature of the event and venue, tickets are limited. For more and to purchase yours, visit M1 Concourse’s website.

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