Detroit Grand Prix Is FAN-tastic
The Chevrolet Detroit Grand Prix presented by Lear is much more than just world-class auto racing – it’s a three-day-long festival at Belle Isle Park that helps Detroit shine and creates fun and excitement for fans of all ages.
On the 2.3-mile street race course, seven races in all will show off the talents of drivers and machinery from four racing series, June 2-4: the Verizon IndyCar Series, the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship, the SPEED Energy Stadium Super Trucks and the Trans Am Series presented by Pirelli.
While championship drivers and teams will battle wheel-to-wheel fighting for victory, Grand Prix officials work hard year round and gather fan feedback to make the overall event an even more enjoyable experience for all different tastes and interests. Whether you love the roar of engines, meeting Detroit sports stars; listening and dancing to live music; interactive games for kids; hanging out with friends in the tailgate-style area, car displays or taking photos of the famous Scott Fountain on Belle Isle, there is something for everyone at the Chevrolet Detroit Grand Prix presented by Lear.
“Even if you only watch one lap of racing, the family can be entertained all day,” said Bud Denker, Chairman of the Chevrolet Detroit Grand Prix.
Saturday’s main concert at the MotorCity Casino Hotel stage will be popular country music star duo Montgomery Gentry. Sunday’s matinee featuring Grammy Award-winning Jody Watley and the new group Shalamar Reloaded (SRL) comes just before the final race of the weekend – the second of IndyCar’s Chevrolet Dual in Detroit.
The Meijer Fan Zone returns to Belle Isle as one of the most popular fan features of the entire weekend. There are interactive games such as Giant Jenga and Fowling for everyone, and access to various sports stars from Detroit’s professional teams. Also returning is an area for fans that provides tailgating-style food and drinks – but new additions for 2017 include a huge, outdoor-sized large screen, closed-circuit TV so fans can keep an eye on all the track action; plus a cool new mobile bar for adults called Club Patron.
“It’s not just a motorsports event on the track; it’s a festival off the track, and every year we add something new and exciting and try to offer a big variety,” said Michael Montri, general manager of the Chevrolet Detroit Grand Prix.
Getting there is also easier because – in addition to all the traditional off-island parking and shuttle services – a new feature is a drop off location for Lyft and Uber users at the Detroit Naval Armory just over the MacArthur Bridge to Belle Isle. A free shuttle across the bridge is then provided to ride share users.
Expanded Access to Racing and Scott Fountain
Listening to fan feedback, the Grand Prix is opening up some areas of the race venue that weren’t previously accessible in order to maximize race fan appreciation.
Denker said for the first time in years, fans will have access to the back straightaway, where some great racing takes place. The backstretch grandstand will be open to all standard admission Grand Prix ticket holders. He also said that the front and back straightaways have been slightly crowned to create more exciting passing capabilities.
“The back straight is the fastest part of the race track and before you couldn’t get back there, but now fans can get there,” said Denker. “They will love the speed on that section and the scenery, the river, overlooking Canada.”
Access has also been opened to fans with paddock passes to the iconic Scott Fountain. Previously, the 1925 refurbished crown jewel of the island was not accessible to anyone during race weekend, but fan requests changed that dynamic.
New luxury seating has also been installed at the start/finish line along the top rows of Grandstand 1, called Prix-mium seating. The seats have backs and are padded, with more leg room added compared to the normal bleachers.
The wide-ranging excitement of racing options for the fans did not get past driver Arie Luyendyk, Jr. who switched from open-wheel racing to the SPEED Energy Stadium SuperTrucks (SST) and will be in Detroit hoping to improve on last year’s SST second-place finish.
“IndyCar has great technology involved and how sophisticated that vehicle is, and how amazing it is attracts fans,” said Luyendyk, who will drive the Lear Corporation truck at Belle Isle. “The speeds obviously, going 165, 170 (miles per hour), going down the streets of Belle Isle.
“Then you have the sports cars that can be easily relatable to the everyday guy,” he added. “You can own a Ferrari, you can own an Audi, and here you can see the race version on the track, which is pretty special because it’s more along the line of what you’d see on the public road. Then you have kind of the insanity of the Super Trucks. We’re jumping ramps and our races are short. Our fastest drivers start in the back so it’s always a good race.
“The wide variety of racing, and all of the fun things to do off the track, make this event so cool for everybody.”
Experience all the excitement of the Chevrolet Detroit Grand Prix presented by Lear, June 2-4 at Belle Isle Park. For more information and to purchase tickets visit www.DetroitGP.com.
Members of the editorial and news staff of The Detroit News were not involved in the creation of this content.