The Henry Ford museum in Dearborn, Mich. is one of the country's leading collectors of historic Americana of all sorts and is a fantastic destination even for people who aren't particularly interested in Henry Ford's most famous products.
However, the museum is currently exhibiting some special cars now, showing visitors some of the best examples of racing cars in American history. This is a non-partisan endeavor, with title sponsorship provided by General Motors for the Driven to Win: Racing in America presented by General Motors exhibit.
The exhibit covers 24,000 square feet within the enormous museum, leaving plenty of space for Henry Ford's other displays too. Its goal is to present an in-depth look at the people, the experiences, the culture, the spectacle, the risks, and the innovations centered in the world of American auto sports.
“This is the first exhibition of its kind, giving our guests a front-row seat to the world of racing,” said Patricia Mooradian, president, and CEO, The Henry Ford. “From the smell of the tires, the sound of the vehicles starting their engines, the innovative advancements that have been made over the years to the various tracks these vehicles have raced on, our staff and partners have certainly brought this exhilarating sport to life on our museum floor.”
The exhibit also acknowledges the importance of the huge personalities behind the cars in racing, with displays for racing legends Dan Gurney, AJ Foyt, Wendell Scott, Lyn St. James, Bobby Unser, Barney Oldfield, the Wood Brothers, and more.
“Racing is the embodiment of American innovation in the world of sports, but its reach has long stretched beyond the track to our showrooms, our roads, and our culture,” said Mark Reuss, president, General Motors. “Driven To Win documents and celebrates those contributions, with an exciting and comprehensive presentation of the past, present, and future of motorsports, and General Motors is pleased and proud to help bring it to members and guests of this great museum.”
Visitors will have a chance to study actual race-day data from the Ford GT race car to see how teams pursue speed. The Motorsports Training Zone lets guests test themselves using the same physical and mental drills race drivers use to accelerate their responses. Then they can test the results of that practice using the In the Driver's Seat simulator, which provides a 15-minute ride on one of six interconnected full-motion driving simulators. Fatigued kids can take a 15-minute break in the theater, where they can watch the documentary Fueled by Passion, a film that looks at stock cars, drag racing, Indy cars, hill climb, and world speed record racing.