Classic car race returns to Belle Isle, Detroit



Jim Campbell, Chevrolet’s U.S. Vice-President for Performance Vehicles and Motorsports, IndyCar CEO Randy Bernard, Detroit Mayor Dave Bing, Roger Penske, and Mark Reuss, President of GM North America announced the return of Chevrolet to IndyCar as an engine supplier and the sponsor of the 2012 Detroit Chevrolet Belle Isle Grand Prix last October.


Drivers Will Power and Helio Castroneves stand on Belle Isle with GM World Headquarters in the background.

The Izod IndyCar series will take over the streets of Belle Isle June 1-3 as the Chevrolet Detroit Belle Isle Grand Prix returns for the first time since 2008. With speeds topping over 100 mph, 14 turns and 2.1 miles of track, the Grand Prix is a spectacle for everyone who attends.

The event will feature three-straight days of racing. According to, Friday June 1 will feature the IZOD IndyCar practice, the GRAND-AM Rolex Series practice and qualifying, the Pirelli World Challenge Series practice and the Firestone Indy Lights Series practice.

June 2 will have the IZOD IndyCar qualifying, the GRAND-AM Rolex Series practice and then race, the Pirelli World Series Qualifying and first race and the Firestone Indy Lights Series qualifying and race.

June 3 will finish the weekend with the main event, the IZOD IndyCar warm-up and race, followed by the final race of the Pirelli World Challenge Series.

Team Penske drivers Helio Castroneves and Will Power met with Channel 4 news anchor Guy Gordon to talk about the Grand Prix last November. At the time, Castroneves talked about how special it is for him to be in Detroit because he got his first ever win here.

“We are really excited because, well for me, I got my first ever win in the IndyCar series so it’s actually a sentimental place,” Castroneves said to Gordon. “It’s a very technical place, it’s very hard, very difficult, so you have to be really on top of your game to do well here.”

General Motors President Mark Ruess announced in a video by Tell Us Detroit titled “The Gran Prix Returns to Detroit,” that the Penske Corporation has invested $6 million to refurbish Belle Isle’s infrastructure, including the roadways, fountains and playgrounds.

Belle Isle has also had many other improvements to the island. According to, some of those include installing over 150,000 square feet of new concrete for road improvements and other modifications for more exciting competition, repairing damaged lighting and drainage systems and installing new pedestrian bridges and playscapes.

The race also generates a lot of money. In both 2007 and 2008, the race events generated more than $52 million in economic impact for the Metro-Detroit area.

The race will feature drivers from around the world racing at the highest level of competition. It will also feature iconic singers and bands, such as the B-52s, who will perform on Saturday night, and Ronnie Dunn, half of the former country duo Brooks and Dunn, on June 3.

Tickets for the event are on sale now and range from $25 single-day tickets, to $155 for three-day reserved grandstand tickets.

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