The first edition of the UAW-GM Spirit of Detroit HydroFest happens this weekend on the Detroit River! Your Metro Detroit Chevy Dealers are happy to sponsor the two-day event featuring several races.
When it was decided that there was not going to be a Gold Cup hydroplane race (an annual event for many years) in Detroit this year, Detroit Riverfront Events Inc. President Mark Weber was instrumental in forming the new Spirit of Detroit HydroFest.
“When they found out there was not going to be a race in Detroit, UAW-GM contacted us and they asked us what it would take to keep the race in Detroit, and we started having conversations,” Weber said. “We started a new company and went after some of our old sponsors, and then we put the whole thing together. We got a budget that was balanced and we put the event on in 68 days.”
There will be much more racing on the water this time around compared to previous years. The races include boats from H1 Unlimited Hydroplanes, Grand Prix Hydroplanes and Formula 2 Powerboats. The Grand Prix Hydroplanes have 500-cubic-inch GM engines.
“This year’s event is much more action-packed, with little downtime,” Weber said. “We have 12 (H1) Unlimited teams coming, last year (for the Gold Cup) we only had 8. We have 14 Grand Prix teams and 15 Formula 2 teams.”
In addition to the many races, there will be entertainment during the event. Classic rock band Bedrock performs on Saturday, while the Matt Austin Band performs on Sunday. There will also be opportunities for autographs and meet-and-greets with the drivers.
Tickets range in price from $45 to $175, but this year’s event also provides patrons with a chance to view the races for free! The general admission parks of Emma Henderson Park, Memorial Annex Park and Owen Park provide a chance to view every race from a good vantage point at no cost to you. Patrons should bring beach blankets or towels to sit on and can bring food in coolers. There will also be food vendors there.
“Due to the UAW-GM Partnership, all of the general admission parks that we used to charge for have now become free,” Weber said. “It’s a good place to watch the boat races, you can see the whole race course!”