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Young women surprised with trip to Comerica Bank Free Prix Day at Detroit Grand Prix; meet racecar driver Christina Nielsen at special school assembly

Detroit International Academy for Young Women students will get a first-hand look at how their science, technology and math skills can be used in racing when they visit the Chevrolet Detroit Grand Prix presented by Lear during Comerica Bank Free Prix Day on Friday, June 1. Comerica Bank surprised the students at an assembly today when they announced an upcoming field trip to the Grand Prix. The students will learn firsthand about the science behind racing, get exclusive access and a behind-the-scenes tour of the Grand Prix while they are on the island.

“Giving students an opportunity to directly apply what they’ve learned in school to a career field helps them become more engaged in the subject they’re learning,” Michael T. Ritchie, president, Comerica Bank-Michigan said. “We hope this experience will help encourage more young women to take an interest in STEM and spark a career in the automotive or racing industry.” 

Today’s school event featured a panel discussion with Comerica Bank Senior Vice President Monica Martinez, International Motor Sports Association (IMSA) champion sports car driver Christina Nielsen and Chairman of the Chevrolet Detroit Grand Prix presented by Lear, Bud Denker.

Nielsen, a 26-year-old driver from Denmark, has won the Grand Touring Daytona (GTD) Class Championship in the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship during the last two seasons. She is the first woman in history to win a full-season sportscar championship in North America.

Nielsen spoke with the students and answered questions about the experiences and challenges she faced on her way to becoming a world-class driver as well as the opportunities for women in motorsports.

She will race with Wright Motorsports, driving a Porsche 911 GT3 R in IMSA’s GTD class, on Belle Isle in the Chevrolet Sports Car Classic, Saturday, June 2, during Grand Prix weekend. On Comerica Bank Free Prix Day, students from Detroit International Academy (DIA) will reconnect with Nielsen in her racing environment as they will stop by for a visit at her team’s garage June 1.

At today’s assembly, members of the school’s 10-person robotics team – “The Pink Panthers” – demonstrated a “Ms.Packwoman” robot they built last year. The team was the 2016 Center Line FIRST Robotics District winner and has won awards in the competition for the past three years. They will compete in the Southfield and Center Line Districts FIRST robotics events in March. 

“We’re very fortunate to be able to have partners like Comerica Bank to help us host events like these for the young people in our community,” Bud Denker, chairman of the Chevrolet Detroit Grand Prix presented by Lear, said. “It’s important to show students all of the options they have through STEM in the automotive and motorsports field and the Grand Prix provides a great platform for those opportunities.”

Comerica Bank Free Prix Day will feature racing action from all four series at the Grand Prix. The Verizon IndyCar Series will feature two practice sessions as drivers prepare for the Chevy Dual in Detroit – the only doubleheader weekend on the IndyCar schedule. The IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship will participate in two practice sessions and qualifying for the Chevrolet Sports Car Classic race on Saturday afternoon. Both the Trans Am Series presented by Pirelli and the SPEED Energy Stadium SUPER Trucks will also host practice and qualifying sessions Friday for their respective Saturday races.

Comerica Bank Free Prix Day gives all fans free access to the first day of race weekend on Belle Isle. Attendees will be able to visit the Raceway at Belle Isle Park and tour the paddock area, known as the “locker room of motorsports,” where teams work on the vehicles. This is the sixth consecutive year Comerica has sponsored Free Prix Day.

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The Chevrolet Detroit Grand Prix presented by Lear is a 501(c)3 organization and a subsidiary of the Downtown Detroit Partnership. Scheduled for June 1-3, 2018, the event will include the Chevrolet Dual in Detroit featuring the cars of the Verizon IndyCar Series, the Chevrolet Sports Car Classic with the exotic sports cars of the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship, the high-flying trucks of the SPEED Energy Stadium SUPER Trucks and the Trans Am Series presented by Pirelli. Partners for the 2018 Grand Prix include General Motors and Lear Corporation. For more information, visit and follow our social media pages at, and


Comerica Bank is a subsidiary of Comerica Incorporated. Since its founding in Detroit in 1849, Comerica Bank has been making a positive difference in the lives of Michigan residents, helping its customers be successful and providing financial assistance to help charitable organizations meet their diverse goals. From its multi-million-dollar restoration of Comerica Bank Center to its naming rights agreement for Comerica Park to its sponsorship of Little Caesar’s Arena and the Comerica Players Club to its naming rights partnership for the Comerica Gridiron Club and Suites at The New Ford Field, Comerica continues to be an active participant in Detroit’s downtown revitalization. Comerica Incorporated (NYSE: CMA) is a financial services company strategically aligned by three business segments: The Business Bank, The Retail Bank, and Wealth Management. Comerica focuses on relationships, and helping people and businesses be successful. To find us on Facebook, please visit Follow us on Twitter at @ComericaCares.