Michigan City, IN (July 22, 2019) – Super-powered jet ski competition, one of the nation’s hottest new water racing sports, is joining the lineup of offshore powerboat racing at Michigan City’s Great Lakes Grand Prix this year, complete with television coverage by FOX Sports, organizers announced today. In addition, two days of heart-pounding powerboat racing are planned, doubling the Grand Prix’s mainstay action for the 11th annual event August 1-4.
Visit Michigan City LaPorte, the tourism agency that organizes the Great Lakes Grand Prix, has been able to add even more high-speed action this year by partnering with the American Power Boat Association. This puts Michigan City’s powerboat races into a six-venue racing series being staged by the association, which was formed when the world’s leading marine motorsport brand, Powerboat P1, and the Offshore Powerboat Association joined forces to promote powerboat racing. Also coming onboard is AquaX, a group that promotes high-endurance jet ski racing around the world.
“We are really thrilled to add AquaX jet ski racing to our big weekend, and especially excited that FOX Sports has chosen Michigan City as one of the places to promote the AquaX Pro Series,” said Jack Arnett, executive director of Visit Michigan City LaPorte. Michigan City is the third stop of the five-city Pro Series, with some 30 jet skis competing on Saturday and Sunday. The race will be aired at three different times by FOX Sports.
“This is huge for our region,” he added. “With more than 70 race teams coming from all around the world, you won’t want to miss it!”
The Great Lakes Grand Prix was started as a way to showcase Michigan City and its lakefront, and has become the community’s signature event, Arnett said. Attendance has mushroomed over time, with last year’s races and other activities during the weekend drawing more than 140,000 people.
During the racing phase of the event, spectators gather at Washington Park along the lakefront to watch some of the world’s fastest and most powerful offshore powerboats zoom past on Lake Michigan’s ever-challenging waters, reaching speeds of up to 175 miles per hour. Up to 60 powerboats are expected this year, according to Rick Wright, race director, with racing taking place both Saturday and Sunday.
There is plenty of action onshore, as well, including a chance for racing fans to see the colorful powerboats and jet skis, and meet the drivers. On Saturday at 6 p.m. the annual Boat Parade, including both huge powerboats and jet skis heads down Franklin Street, with a block party afterwards where fans can meet the drivers. Throughout the weekend, a visit to the dry pits where the boats and jet skis are kept, gives visitors an up-close look and another chance to meet the racers.
A host of other activities round out the weekend. The Taste of Michigan City, sponsored by The Michigan City Mainstreet Association, brings numerous local eateries to the Uptown Arts District to showcase their delicacies. Local breweries and wineries are featured in the beer garden.
There’s plenty of musical entertainment too, both at the Taste of Michigan City and each night on the Washington Park Boardwalk where live bands play. Other special events include a vintage car show, EVP volleyball tournament, and silent auction for charity in honor of the Michigan City Emergency Management Volunteers who work to make the race possible.
Race Director Wright noted that all the time and energy put into the Great Lakes Grand Prix locally over the years “has resulted in placing us on an international level.”
“Where once we pursued the racing organizations, now they pursue us,” he said. “They come here because they are treated like royalty, and that’s a testament to Michigan City and all that the community puts into this.”
Wright added “Don’t forget free shuttle service from Ames Field Friday, Saturday and Sunday.”
For a complete schedule, go to https://www.greatlakesgrandprix.com/schedule/
For further information, contact; Jack Arnett, Executive Director, LaPorte County Convention & Visitors Bureau 219.872.5055.