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H1 Unlimited Hydroplane chairman Steve David said the series will be making a stop on the Detroit River after all this summer and it will be better than ever.

David, who retired as a driver following the 2013 season, said the two-day event on August 22-23 will be known as the UAW-GM Spirit of Detroit Thunderfest and it will be "action packed with no down time to make sure the fans have a great experience."

David was a star on the Detroit River as a driver for decades, finishing runnerup a dozen times while also winning multiple series championships. He wanted to make sure Unlimited racing would remain in the Motor City.

"When the DRRA (Detroit River Regatta Association) disbanded, Mark Weber, Bruce Madej, Doug Bernstein and myself figured we had to find a way to keep Unlimited racing going on the Detroit River," pointed out David. "Really, failure was not an option. It was important to bring the race back since it had been a part of the city for more than seventy straight years.

"Mark Weber and his group did a great job. We're going to have a two-day event and all general admission area seating will now be free to the public and the price for the bleachers will be more fan-friendly.

"The event will be action packed. We're bringing the Grand Prix boats back for the first time in nearly 15 years and also adding F2 Tunnel Boats, V6 Mercury Outboards that are 16-to-17 feet long, go 130 mph and turn on a dime. It's going to be a blast."

David came back to the series when owners and drivers asked him to take on the role to bring new life into the sport.

"They wanted me to be Chairman so we've cleaned up the balance sheet where we have no debt," David said. "We're revolutionizing the sport where a new V12 motor is being developed, capable of 3,000 horsepower and we're hoping to get it on the dyno in November and have it ready for next year.

"We've signed 12 Unlimited race teams to performance contracts and we're going to have 11 of them at the season opener July 4th in Madison and all 12 for the Gold Cup two weeks later at Tri-Cities (on the Columbia River in eastern Washington). Our racing will also be on webcast free on ESPN3 so fans who can't attend the races can still watch them."

David feels fortunate UAW-GM came on board to show its commitment to Detroit.

"I think it really shows how thankful they are to the city of Detroit for hanging on with them through tough times," David said. "Now, they're giving back and we're thrilled to have them with us. And, this is a multi-year deal too."

david.goricki@detroitnews.com

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