Detroit’s M1 Racetrack Bringing Some Monterey and Goodwood Magic to Motown

In 2014, the MotorTrend Group helped turn the Woodward Dream Cruise into a multi-event happening by organizing Roadkill Nights, powered by Dodge—a street legal drag racing program that lets car enthusiasts “run what they brung” right on Woodward Avenue in front of M1 Concourse in Pontiac. For 2021, that 87-acre venue, which ranks as the world’s largest garage-condo/motorsports complex, will add a 28,500-square-foot event center and restaurant facility that will serve as the epicenter for two more big events, both organized in conjunction with Pontiac Motorsports Exposition, the Woodward Dream Show and the American Festival of Speed. Here’s a primer on both:

The Woodward Dream Show

Scheduled: August 19–21, 2021

Envisioned as a three-day event that zeros in on the best-of-the-best of what generally shows up on Woodward for the Dream Cruise, this mostly invitation-only event will open on the Thursday of Dream Cruise weekend. It will include “time-attack” lapping on the 1.5-mile Champion Motor Speedway circuit, which involves 11 corners and 30 feet of elevation change. Then, on Friday, there will be a big rod and custom show designed to draw attention to the remarkable skills of the people who craft these rolling art forms. Think it as an Oakland Roadster Show east of the Mississippi or an outdoor summertime version of Detroit’s wintertime, indoor Autorama show. Saturday will be a club day, where clubs will be encouraged to reserve parking space inside M1 Concourse where they can enjoy a variety of food options, clean restroom facilities, and a huge “cars and coffee” atmosphere with the ability head out for a cruise of Woodward and possibly take a parade lap of the race track.

American Festival of Speed

Scheduled: September 30–October 2, 2021

Six weeks after the Dream Show—when there’s no longer any conflict with the Car Week events in Monterey (which typically overlap the Woodward Dream Cruise), M1 and PME will host something of a mashup between England’s Goodwood Festival of Speed and vintage racing events held in Monterey or Watkins Glen. The inaugural event will feature Can Am racing, with Jim Hall on hand along with several of his Chaparral racers, plus one of Carroll Shelby’s Can Am racers. The event will open on Thursday with a dine and drive event not unlike Monterey’s Tour d’Elegance. Friday and Saturday are track days, with cars probably rolling out by decade, in time-attack format (like the Goodwood Festival of Speed’s hillclimb) rather than true wheel-to-wheel racing. The weekend is capped off by a car show on Sunday.

We wish the organizers all the luck in the world, and we’ll be eager to see of a track event that doesn’t include wheel-to-wheel racing can capture the same excitement as the historic races held elsewhere that DO occasionally involve (sometimes very expensive) bent sheet metal.

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