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The Spirit of Detroit HydroFest Supercharges Ahead with New Title Sponsorship from Metro Detroit Chevy Dealers

MDCD helps historic hydroplane weekend stay afloat; August 25-27 event features updated format to give fans more speed and double the action


DETROIT (April 10, 2017) – The Spirit of Detroit HydroFest is pleased to announce the Metro Detroit Chevy Dealers (MDCD) the new presenting title sponsor for this year. The 101-year-old event, one of the Motor City’s longest-standing sports traditions, will be held Aug. 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.

Until the MDCD stepped in to provide the event’s much-needed financial lift as title sponsor, there were fears the historic summer experience would not take place this year. Terms of the deal were not disclosed.

"We are excited to welcome the Metro Detroit Chevy Dealers as a partner for one of the greatest community events in the City of Detroit," said Mark Weber, president of Detroit Riverfront Events, Inc., the host and planning organization for Spirit of Detroit HydroFest. "To have them on board the same year we make history in the sport by presenting two races in two days and giving the fans more action than they have ever seen before makes it even more exciting."

"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."

We are now looking for a title sponsor for the Spirit of Detroit HydroFest. We plan to run the H1 Unlimited Hydroplanes with a race on Saturday and a separate race on Sunday. We will sell a naming sponsorship for each of those days. The plan would make the financial commitment less for a single company, and the show will be improved.

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.

"That gives us 12 sets of Unlimited Hydroplane heat races with more action for race goers," Weber added.

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.

As the speeds grew so did the crowds, and hydroplane racing became a major Detroit event. Through the decades, Detroit boat builders, drivers, fans and sponsors have proven to be among the best. Now, H1 Unlimited Hydroplanes are the fastest circuit racing boats in the world, 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.” The driver then turns left and hooks into the water with a four-foot tall, 400-pound fin that throws another wall of water that hangs in the air all the way through the turn.

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. In comparison, the first Indianapolis 500 race was held in 1911, and its Borg-Warner trophy was first awarded in 1936.

For ticket information, visit the HydroFest Detroit website or call 313-329-8047.

About Metro Detroit Chevy Dealers (MDCD)

The Metro Detroit Chevy Dealers Local Marketing Association (LMA) is comprised of 38 Chevrolet dealerships in Southeastern Michigan. It is the MDCD mission to take an active role in local communities and to support the Metro Detroit area by featuring local events, venues, bands, charities and people in its marketing campaigns. For a complete listing of the 38 Metro Detroit Chevy Dealers and other information please visit

Media contacts: Erin Robinson – Metro Detroit Chevy Dealers,, 248.342.4415 Jason Brown – Spirit of Detroit HydroFest, 248.252.1687

April 10, 2017