he 2017 Grand Prix kicked off with an elegant and festive affair Friday night on Belle Isle in Detroit. Some 500 guests attended the Grand Prixmiere, including race drivers and dignitaries, among them, Helio Castroneves, Debbie Dingell (D-Dearborn), Mayor Mike Duggan, former Mayor Dennis Archer, and his wife, the Hon. Trudy Duncombe Archer.
The 2017 Grand Prixmiere celebrated the “art of racing” featuring one-of-a-kind creations from Detroit-based artist and General Motors designer Matt Burke. Burke’s artwork will be displayed throughout the event’s venue. The event was chaired by Michele and Ken Morris, vice president of Global Product Integrity at General Motors.
Guests entered the party by way of the Grand Prix track and into the track-side venue overlooking the island’s magnificent Scott Fountain. The evening’s cocktail reception was followed by a seated duo entree dinner of beef tenderloin and crab-stuffed jumbo shrimp, a program and auction emceed by Paul W. Smith and live entertainment by Your Generation in Concert.
Tickets to the event were $600, with proceeds benefiting the Belle Isle Conservancy in its continued efforts to preserve, restore and enhance Belle Isle Park through restoration and renovations projects across the island, as well as new programming. Funds from the evening’s Fund A Cause appeal will directly benefit the Belle Isle Aquarium, including restoration of the aquarium’s tanks and a reservoir system upgrade
“Michele and I are honored to work with the teams at General Motors, PwC, Penske Corp., the Grand Prix and the Belle Isle Conservancy to bring our vision for this event to life,” said Morris.
Tickets were $600 per person. The 2017 Grand Prixmiere raised more than $700,000 for the Belle Isle Conservancy, with $291,000 raised during the live auction program alone. During the event, a local business leader announced that he would match all Fund A Cause donations for the evening, taking the nearly $30,000 tab up to nearly $60,000 raised.