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Winner of Detroit Grand Prix poster contest crowned

Breana Noble
The Detroit News

A 20-year-old College for Creative Studies art student has designed the keepsake poster for this year's Chevrolet Detroit Grand Prix sponsored by Lear.

Alec Porter is the ninth student from the Detroit art school to take the checker in the annual Detroit GP Poster Competition, now in its 31st year. His design features an Art Deco-inspired image that pays homage to the bright, colorful 20th century auto racing posters from Monaco and Sebring.

Detroit Grand Prix poster contest: winner, Alec Porter

Porter's entry for the return of the event June 11-13 won over five finalists drawn from the college's Illustration Department. The school is one of the nation's premier institutes for art and automotive design. Porter will receive a small scholarship and a free ticket to the race weekend.

Detroit Grand Prix poster contest: runner-up, Ariana Manzanarez

“My first goal was to connect the city of Detroit with the Grand Prix,” said Porter, a junior from Westland who is majoring in illustration. “I looked for iconic images of Detroit, and landed on the Joe Louis memorial. I liked how it represents the speed, power and competitive nature of racing.”

The poster depicts the thrust of the Detroit's boxer fist alongside an IndyCar and IMSA Weathertech prototype sports car. They're the featured races during the Dual in Detroit Grand Prix weekend. IMSA sports cars will race on Belle Isle on Saturday, while the IndyCar thoroughbreds will compete both Saturday and Sunday. It is the only time on the series schedule with back-to-back races. Indy Lights, an IndyCar feeder series, also will hold two races that weekend.

Detroit Grand Prix poster contest: third place, Gabriella Cruciani

After skipping last year due to concerns from the COVID-19 pandemic, the Detroit Grand Prix returns this summer. It will take place two weeks after the Indianapolis 500, which once again will be held on its traditional Memorial Day weekend date. Last year, that race was postponed until August. Despite the cancellation of the 2020 Detroit Grand Prix, the poster contest still awarded a winner.

For 2021, the competition asked contestants to submit entries that included a reference to Detroit, the Detroit Grand Prix logo and date, and at least one car competing during the weekend.

“It’s a very commercial project,” said Matt LeBarre, who teaches the CCS Illustration class. “The Detroit GP poster contest is a great opportunity for students to apply their talents to a commercial client project.”

Contest jurors awarded Porter five first-place votes. Runner-up Ariana Manzanarez gave a monochrome-blue rendition of two racers chasing one another against a Detroit skyline. Her entry received two first-place votes. The third spot on the podium went to Gabriella Cruciani and her colorful depiction of speeding race cars on Belle Isle.

Detroit Grand Prix poster contest: finalist, Nancy Gilbertson

Rounding out the CCS finalists were Nancy Gilbertson and John Vital. Vital’s design was the fans' choice winner in an online vote taken Sunday.

The designs were critiqued by a panel of judges: Bud Denker, chairman of the Detroit Grand Prix; Jamie Edmonds, WDIV/Channel 4 sports reporter; Ryan Ford, Detroit Free Press deputy sports editor; Don Kilpatrick, CCS Illustration Department chairman; Mark Mainville, General Motors Co. senior design manager; Michael Montri, president of the Detroit Grand Prix; Henry Payne, Detroit News auto critic; and Lea Thomas Smith, Lear head of design.

Detroit Grand Prix poster contest: finalist, John Vital

After some final tweaks, Porter’s poster will go on sale by the end of April. The poster will be available at and at the Detroit Grand Prix.

Twitter: @BreanaCNoble

Detroit News auto critic Henry Payne contributed.