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SailGP set to return to Chicago's Skyline Stadium - plus NASCAR 'Water to Wheels' challenge

by Will Gaudet 25 May 00:34 PDT 16-17 June 2023
NASCAR, SailGP Kick Off Chicago Summer Racing Season with Helmet Swap, Water to Wheels Challenge © SailGP

Navy Pier, Chicago's two hottest racing properties - SailGP and the NASCAR Chicago Street Race - joined forces to kick off the summer of racing in Chicago and announce a 'Water to Wheels' challenge with a ceremonial helmet swap between U.S. SailGP Team Athlete Cooper Dressler and Julie Giese, NASCAR Chicago Street Race President, and joined by Kara Bachman, executive director of the Chicago Sports Commission.

The challenge will include putting each sport's athletes to a speed 'test' to determine which feels more thrilling: flying over Lake Michigan on SailGP's turbo-charged, hydrofoiling F50 at 60 mph, or the racing through downtown Chicago in a NASCAR stock car in the simulator. The challenge, which will include NASCAR Xfinity Series driver and NBC Sports analyst Parker Kligerman and the U.S. SailGP Team, is set to take place during the Rolex United States Sail Grand Prix's training day, June 15.

The 'Water to Wheels' speed challenge will kick off SailGP's Season 4 opener on Friday and Saturday, June 16-17 when the identical F50 catamarans will take over Lake Michigan in "Chicago's Skyline Stadium" (between Navy Pier and the Adler Planetarium).

SailGP is one of the fastest emerging sports properties in the world, featuring the best athletes in the sport representing national teams from the United States, Australia, Canada, Denmark, France, Great Britain, New Zealand, Spain, and Switzerland. Chicago is the only event on the global calendar that will be raced on fresh water.

"Chicago is ready-made for racing, whether on water right in front of the skyline, or on the streets when NASCAR roars around downtown," said Dressler. "Race fans should get ready for some great action this summer, and personally I can't wait to see the reaction of Parker when he experiences what it feels like to take a turn on our F50 at the force of 3G's. This will be a fun challenge."

In turn, NASCAR's Giese enthusiastically responded with: "On behalf of the NASCAR Chicago Street Race, we accept SailGP and Cooper's challenge. Let the racing begin! And make no mistake: no matter who crosses the finish line first, the city of Chicago itself will be the star of the show."

Navy Pier will be the central race village for SailGP's spectator-focused racing, hosting a great party atmosphere for Chicagoans, including live music, DJs, premium food and beverage experiences, fan shops, and fireworks. Additional "bring your own boat" packages are available, plus behind-the-scenes opportunities to check out the SailGP Technical Base. TIckets are on sale now at

The first-ever Chicago Street Race Weekend will feature the NASCAR Cup Series' Grant Park 220 and NASCAR Xfinity Series' The Loop 121 competing on a 12-turn, 2.2-mile street course, along with full-length concerts by The Chainsmokers and Miranda Lambert with the support of The Black Crowes and Charley Crockett over Fourth of July Weekend on July 1-2.

To purchase two-day general admission or reserved tickets, visit or call 1-888-629-7223.

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