New Henry Ford museum racing exhibit puts you in the driver’s seat

Driven to Win: Racing in America opens to the general public on March 27. Wes Duenkel/The Henry Ford

The Henry Ford Museum of American Innovation in Dearborn, Michigan, has created a new, permanent, and uniquely comprehensive exhibition of American auto racing history that will open in March of 2021. “Driven to Win: Racing in America,” presented by General Motors, explores more than a century of competition and encompasses everything from stock car, sports car, and drag racing to Indy car, hill climb, and land-speed competition.

It opens Friday, March 26 to members and Saturday, March 27 to the general public.

“This is the first exhibition of its kind and gives our guests a front row seat to the world of racing,” says Patricia Mooradian, president and CEO of The Henry Ford, in a press release.

Utilizing the museum’s unparalleled collection of historically significant race cars and artifacts, the 24,000 square-foot exhibit takes an in-depth look at “the people, experiences, culture, spectacle, risks and innovations centered in the world of American auto sports.” In addition to the cars on display, “Driven to Win” tells the stories of racing legends Dan Gurney, A.J. Foyt, Wendell Scott, Lyn St. James, Bobby Unser, Barney Oldfield, the Wood Brothers, and many others.

Multiple interactive zones give visitors a hands-on experience.

Inside the Sports Car Performance Center (presented by Multimatic with support from Ford Motor Company and Brembo), attendees will see the kind of race-day data that helps engineers problem-solve and plan for future races, experience the evolution of the design process from clay model to race car, and see how closely the Ford GT production car resembles the one on the track. In the Motorsports Performance Training zone, they can learn about the physical and mental training that drivers go through before testing their skills on track.

One of the highlights of the exhibit is a 15-minute “multisensory cinematic experience,” Fueled by Passion, which puts viewers in the middle of the action and gives “an all-access look into the hopes and dreams, successes and failures of those who live and breathe racing every day.” The film includes exclusive footage and interviews with drivers and crew members from stock car, Indy car, hill climb, land-speed, and drag racing.

The museum’s “In the Driver’s Seat” simulators (presented by Brembo) allow visitors to experience the world’s fastest cars on the planet’s most challenging tracks during a 15-minute virtual journey on six interlinked full-motion racing simulators.

The Winner’s Circle (presented by Rolex) celebrates driver achievements and vehicles that represent key moments in American auto racing history.

“Driven to Win” is included with museum admission; simulators require an additional fee. For more information, visit or follow the museum on social media @thehenryford.

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