We now know a part of the reason as to why the Chevrolet Detroit Grand Prix is down to one race next year. That was revealed on Wednesday morning as the race organizers are in the planning stages of moving the annual event away from Belle Isle and shift it back to a downtown street race again.
The NTT IndyCar Series has been going to the island again in 2012 and from 2013 through this past season, the race has always been a doubleheader. The only gap they didn’t go was last year due to COVID restrictions.
But, it’s not out of the realm of possibilities to go back downtown as the first time there ever was a race in the Motor City was in 1982. That was for a F1 race. That lasted until 1988. In 1989, CART came to town to replace F1 and they raced on the street course in downtown for three years.
A year later, CART moved from downtown to Belle Isle and would remain there through 2001. They didn’t go back in 2002 and wouldn’t again until Roger Penske got involved. Thank the Super Bowl at Ford Field for that.
Penske, was on the Super Bowl XL committee and strived to bring an INDYCAR race back to his hometown in 2007. That worked. Then came the economy drop out which greatly affected the Detroit area.
INDYCAR stopped going again in 2009 but returned in 2012. With the current contract ending at the end of 2022, Penske Corp, who not only run the series but also promotes the race, is wanting a fresh start and that’s to move the race back downtown.
They see how well the street course races are going in St. Pete and Long Beach as well as how well Nashville went and thought that moving the race to downtown Detroit could spark more fans instead of racing on the island.