Michigan’s M1 Concourse will call upon the talents of Tim McGrane as the road course and country club-style facility continues to grow its footprint in the Midwest.
With the addition of several major automotive events and racing celebrations added to its calendar, the former leader of the esteemed Blackhawk Automotive Museum and CEO of WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca has been tasked with elevating M1 Concourse to a new level in the industry.
“When the facility first started about five years ago, it was built as a private track with garage condos. More recently, its new owners have looked at it in a different light and imagined it could be more than was originally envisioned,” McGrane (pictured above) told RACER.
“The family that own it now were involved in the early stages as garage owners, minority investors, and after acquiring the entire property, they saw that down the road, M1 Concourse could play an important role in being a bigger part of the auto industry that we’re surrounded by. We all like doing large events, but the reality is we do them for an underlying business reason, and that has been the evolution for the company that led me here as the new CEO.”
Built on the site of a former production plant for General Motors’ Pontiac brand, the facility will play host to an expanding number of events in 2021 as McGrane and M1’s leadership look to make its featured shows an annual affair.
Among the schedule’s highlights, the cancellation of the North American International Auto Show in Detroit has led to its rebirth as Motor Bella from September 21-26. It will be followed by the American Speed Festival affair from September 30-October 3, with cars from the Can Am series and legendary racer/builder Jim Hall as the featured names that will make use of M1’s 1.5-mile Champion Motor Speedway.
“We’ll have the Motor Bella event coming, which is put on by the Detroit Auto Dealers Association, and that will put another focus on M1 Concourse as a venue that can be used for multiple automotive and lifestyle activities,” said McGrane, an Englishman who presided over hallmark events like the Monterey Motorsports Reunion and Porsche’s Rennsport Reunion in Northern California.
“We’ll also have the American Speed Festival event, and within it, we will host the Motorsports Hall of Fame of America ceremonies and banquet, which adds to the prestige of offerings. There certainly is a feeling of movement in the car world where more is starting to happen and we’re slowly getting back to the type of events that everyone can look forward to. And being near Detroit, and under that enormous automotive umbrella, is leading more people to think of us for hosting their functions. There is certainly an energy and a feeling of the trajectory is going upwards at an increasing rate.”
The property is also in the midst of an ambitious development phase where its 170 privately-owned garages will be pushed past 250 once construction is complete. Along with completing a restaurant and more dedicated event hosting infrastructure, M1’s 87 acres are filling to capacity to meet demand.
“Private tracks like ours are facing an increased demand from people enjoying automobiles of all manner,” McGrane said. “It’s hot rods and customs on one end to exotics and supercars on the other, plus race cars, so we’re certainly feeling very positive about how M1 has been received and the development taking place on the property indicates the vision by our owners was the right path to pursue.”