Hydroplane racing boats are going to grace the waters of the Detroit River for a 101st time. The Spirit of Detroit HydroFest announced today that the Metro Detroit Chevy Dealers (MDCD) the new presenting title sponsor for this year.
The event will be held August 25-27 on the Detroit River and has been restructured this year to include a new two races in two days format instead of one race over two days.
This new race format has not been seen in the modern era of the sport, bringing a new level of excitement to fans attending the 2017 event.
There were real fears that the historic summer experience would not take place this year before this sponsorship. Monetary terms of the deal were not disclosed.
“The Metro Detroit Chevy Dealers value events that make Detroit so rich in sports traditions. We certainly did not want to see a legacy event like HydroFest cancelled,” said Paul Stanford, President of the Metro Detroit Chevy Dealers Local Marketing Association. “Our dealers really came together to make the investment required to take on the role of title sponsor and we are happy to play a part in bringing families and fans back to the Detroit Riverfront for summer memories that last a lifetime.”
According to the Hydrofest, hydroplane racing became a tradition in Detroit when designer Christopher Columbus Smith, of the Chris Craft boat company, built a Detroit-based boat that could crack the 60 miles-per-hour speed barrier, capturing the Gold Cup in 1915.
The President’s Cup was contested by Unlimited Hydroplane teams between 1926 and 1977, with time out for World War II (1941-1945). After 1977, the President’s Cup became an APBA Inboard event for several years.
The APBA Gold Cup is among the most prestigious of motorsport trophies, in part because it is the oldest active trophy in all of the motorsports. The trophy was first awarded in 1904.
For some perspective, the first Indianapolis 500 race was held in 1911 and its now named Borg-Warner trophy was first awarded in 1936.
There will be an updated format this year with two sets of preliminary heats on Aug. 26 with a winner-take-all final for the President’s Cup, followed by three sets of preliminary heats on Aug. 27 with a winner-take-all final for the Gold Cup.
Detroit is going to see the fastest circuit racing boars in the world, the H1 Unlimited Hydroplanes. They are powered by turbine engines producing 3000 horsepower, topping 200 mph and trailing a 60-foot high, 300 foot long wall of water called a “rooster tail.”
A little history aside. If you’ve heard the name “Roostertail” before, that’s because it’s the name of a legendary venue along the Detroit River opened in 1958 that is also used as a viewing spot for the boat races. Per their website, it’s named after that wall of water created by fast moving boats.