2024 Detroit Grand Prix

For the last couple years, Detroit Grand Prix has been held downtown, aesthetically pleasing for us viewers and adding another element of competitiveness for the drivers. We’ve bummed around the paddocks as spectators before, but this year our friends at Cape Motorsports reached out and asked to rep Detroit Steel Wheel Co. with Team d’Orlando in IndyNXT.

Brothers Dominic and Nicholas Cape have owned Cape Motorsports since the late 80’s, but have always had a passion for old schools. I remember seeing their ’54 Buick Wagon on social posted up with their 60’s Caddy on our wheels and just being obsessed. I mean, tug at my heartstrings with a bagged wagon and a surfboard. We linked up at SEMA 2019 and had them bring “Fat ‘n Sassy” to our art district photoshoot. You can check out the whole spread in the March 2024 issue of GM Scene Magazine.

A couple weeks ago Dominic reached out about Grand Prix. Was so stoked to hear his story of how his son was flipping through the magazine one night and saw the pictorial of their Buick. Absolutely one of my favorite shoots we have done, especially how that shoot location has changed through the years. So Dominic hit me with their idea of the logo placement, and we were *ahem* off to the races.

We linked up with the d’Orlando fam, with Michael being the driver of car #3 in IndyNXT. From his bio “He joined the IndyCar feeder series ladder in 2018, improving every year until he won the USF 2000 championship with Cape Motorsports in the 2022 season. He then advanced up to the USF Pro 2000 championship and proceeded to score four wins in his debut season.” His mom Sherri was my point of contact for all scheduling, and the whole family was there in their matching shoes to support. Michaels brother Nicholas d’Orlando also competes, and Sherri told me it’s been that way ever since they were kids racing in GoKarts.

Friday and Saturday were the practice rounds, collecting data for the teams to adapt their cars to drivers performance and the course itself. From what I understand, Detroit has been one of the bumpiest, so the trick is to keep the car as low as possible without bottoming out. The Cape brothers said Michael’s racing style is as a true extension of his vehicle, and the correct modifications were made to have him compete statistically at his best.

The team raced under Andretti, I want to say there were 6 racers total with them, and after each run they would meet as a team and discuss strategy. I appreciated the camaraderie of it all, I mean especially because Andretti want’s one of their racers to win, but there’s still that atmosphere of familiarity within the circuits. These people grew up with each other, they know their families, they know their style, it’s a lot of humanity built into a sport dominated by a machine.

I am incredibly grateful for the hospitality the Cape and d’Orlando families provided for us. So looking forward to following them in this sport and seeing the continued success they build together!