Detroit Grand Prix Logo


DETROIT, Mich. (May 4, 2016) – For the fifth consecutive year, the Chevrolet Detroit Belle Isle Grand Prix and PNC are teaming up to incorporate PNC’s signature early childhood education initiative, PNC Grow Up Great and the Fifth Gear education programs, into pre-race activities designed to enrich the development of Detroit Public School (DPS) students.

Building on the partnership that began in 2012 between the Grand Prix and PNC, both the PNC Grow Up Great and Fifth Gearprograms combine math and science themes with motorsports in real-world applications to help expose DPS students to engineering and technology-based careers. The programs are funded by a grant from the PNC Foundation, which receives its principal funding from The PNC Financial Services Group (NYSE: PNC), under the stewardship of the Detroit Public Schools Foundation.  For the past several weeks, the science and math curriculums have been incorporated in the classrooms for each participating school, helping to build the excitement for the Grand Prix’s return to Belle Isle Park, June 3-5.

Today, approximately 500 pre-kindergarten DPS students got a hands-on application of this curriculum as part of the PNC Grow Up Great program during the PNC Racing Fair at The Palace of Auburn Hills. The students got a chance to use the knowledge they have learned in nine different activity stations including a gravity track, human powered engine, jet toys and more. IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship drivers and brothers Ricky and Jordan Taylor visited with the students and participated in some of the activities while looking ahead to the Grand Prix.

In addition to today’s Racing Fair, the Grand Prix and about 35 teamGM Cares employee volunteers will host approximately 300 DPS fifth graders on June 2 during Education Day on Belle Isle leading into the race weekend.  The GM employees will guide these Fifth Gear students through STEM interactive modules that demonstrate aero dynamics, gravity, friction and more.

“The Grand Prix is excited to continue this partnership with PNC that gives DPS students a practical, hands-on learning experience with STEM through motorsports,” said Bud Denker, Chairman of the Chevrolet Detroit Belle Isle Grand Prix. “This is the fifth year for our partnership with PNC and by working with teamGM Cares this year while hosting two separate events for the Grow Up Greatand the Fifth Gear students, we are proud to create more experiences for the students and give them the opportunity to learn even more lessons around racing.”

PNC Grow Up Great is a multi-year, $350 million initiative created to improve early childhood education, primarily in underserved areas. PNC launched a three-year program in science and the arts for DPS preschool students in 2010 with a $2.1 million commitment, and extended the program for two additional years and another $950,000 in 2014.


“PNC remains committed to providing valuable educational experiences for Detroit Public Schools students through its support of the Grand Prix racing education program,” said PNC Regional President Ric DeVore.  “We’ve seen how the students embrace STEM education initiatives through motorsports activities. It’s exciting to introduce students to the possibility of careers in engineering and technology.”

This marks the first year that teamGM Cares will provide support for the PNC Grow up Great and Fifth Gear programs around the Grand Prix.

“Our employees look forward to volunteering with local students, especially on STEM-related activities,” said Heidi Magyar, Director of teamGM Cares activities. “Being able to spend time with them at the Belle Isle racetrack makes it even more exciting.”