Wednesday, September 29, 2021

Detroit Grand Prix could leave Belle Isle for downtown in 2023, to the relief of parkgoers

Posted By on Wed, Sep 29, 2021 at 9:08 AM

click to enlarge Park or race track? Belle Isle pictured on May 26, 2017. - JAMES PIEDMONT
  • James Piedmont
  • Park or race track? Belle Isle pictured on May 26, 2017.

Here's some potentially good news for people who like to enjoy Detroit's Belle Isle Park during Michigan's mercilessly short warm months: organizers of the Chevrolet Detroit Grand Prix are considering moving the event from the park and returning it to the streets of downtown in 2023.

According to a statement organizers released to the media:

The Detroit Grand Prix has built a great tradition in the Motor City and we are excited to add to the event's legacy next year and beyond. The Grand Prix will return to Belle Isle on June 3-5, 2022.

While we have the option of extending the current agreement with the State of Michigan to host the Grand Prix on Belle Isle through 2024, we are exploring the option of returning the event to a downtown street circuit beginning in 2023. The Grand Prix began as a downtown event, hosted on the streets of Detroit from 1982-1991, before making the transition to Belle Isle.

An annual summertime racing festival on the streets of Detroit would represent a connection to the rich heritage of the Grand Prix, the opportunity to engage with broad audiences and provide an even greater boost to the local economy while adding to the energy and momentum that is building downtown and along our beautiful waterfront.

As plans continue to develop, we look forward to providing an update on the exciting future of the Detroit Grand Prix.

The race had been held on Belle Isle intermittently throughout the '90s and 2000s before maintaining a steady presence on the State Park since 2012. (It was canceled in 2020 due to the pandemic.) But the Belle Isle move angered parkgoers due to its long construction period — between 80 and 120 days, the longest of any race in the world — and permanent changes to the island, including a 400,000-square-foot concrete paddock.

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