Detroit Grand Prix: Prepare for fun, music, food and more away from the track
Every spring, Detroit’s Belle Isle is transformed into a high-octane fun and entertainment zone for the weekend at the world-famous Chevrolet Detroit Grand Prix presented by Lear.
And we mean fun — because entertainment options go well beyond racing.
While it’s true that some of the best auto racing in the world takes place at our very own jewel of an island in the middle of the Detroit River, there are tons of other activities and things to do for people of all backgrounds and interests — especially this year during the 30th running of the Detroit Grand Prix.
Starting with Comerica Free Prix Day on Friday, May 31, fans can find something different to do each day throughout the Saturday and Sunday race days, June 1-2.
Music, food and fun
“Every year at the Chevrolet Detroit Grand Prix presented by Lear we offer concerts as part of our fans’ experience – at no extra charge,” said Michael Montri, President of the Detroit Grand Prix. “We’ve got some really cool music on stage in the Meijer Fan Zone this summer that will be a great addition. For $45 you get all-day racing and great access to these great bands — both local favorites and national stars.”
Saturday’s main feature at 6 p.m. is Michigan native and national star Frankie Ballard, who mixes an American heartland rock sound with traditional country and blues, featuring such hits as “Sunshine and Whiskey,” “Helluva Life” and “Young & Crazy.”
Sunday features Spirit Animal, a four-piece group that will get things rocking at 11:15 a.m. before Stone Temple Pilots (STP) hits the stage at 1 p.m. for a special matinee concert. STP has produced hit after hit for 25-plus years, but the newest addition is lead singer and Detroit music scene veteran Jeff Gutt.
“We try to sprinkle around different music themes because we have a wide range of fans, and it’s not just a two-hour show,” Montri said. “There are all kinds of music, all day in the Meijer Fan Zone. This allows us to support lots of locals acts from a variety of different backgrounds.”
Sticking with hometown Detroit favorites, Andiamo provides all the catering for the Grand Prix and is organizing even more options with food trucks this year — moved off weather-prone grass areas and onto a paved road.
“Because of this move we can bring in even more food trucks and offer a larger variety of choices for our fans,” Montri added.
The Meijer Fan Zone houses so much more than the concert stage — there are exciting interactive games for kids of all ages, the Detroit Sports District featuring displays from all of Detroit’s professional teams and autographs from many of our hometown sports legends; and new this year, X-Pogo will perform amazing tricks and stunts that are sure to please.
“They do some crazy things, all on a pogo stick,” Montri said. “They starred on ‘America’s Got Talent’ and they’ll perform throughout the weekend.
“Our tailgating area is also a lot of fun, with games like Cornhole and Fowling and Giant Jenga. And everyone seems to love KnockerBall, where you put on these large, inflatable soccer balls and you run around knocking into each other.”
Racing heritage on Belle Isle
This being the 30th running of the Detroit Grand Prix, a new feature is the Heritage Exhibit. Inside a huge tent in the Fan Zone will be cars that have competed over the years on Belle Isle, along with race memorabilia, in a celebration of the Motor City’s auto racing legacy.
“We’ll also have racing legends featured at fan forums and autograph sessions inside the Heritage Exhibit,” Montri said.
Getting up close to the current stars of racing has also become easier. For the first time ever, the Detroit Grand Prix will open the entire Fifth Third Bank Paddock area to all fans — without requiring the purchase of an access pass like years past. Affectionately called the “locker room of motorsports,” free paddock entry gives all fans up-close access to drivers and teams working on their cars as well as access to the Autotrader Winner’s Circle at the iconic James Scott Fountain.
From the past to the present, no one can deny that world-class auto racing is the main draw of the Chevrolet Detroit Grand Prix presented by Lear. The NTT IndyCar Series will compete in the Chevy Dual in Detroit — the only doubleheader weekend on the series schedule. Both Saturday and Sunday include separate, full-points races toward the season-long IndyCar Series Championship. Even more impressive is the test of strength and stamina of both man and machine as Detroit immediately follows the Indianapolis 500, making it three grueling and unique IndyCar races in an 8-day span.
Race fans will also experience the exotic machines of the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship on Saturday, plus races both days of the long running Trans Am Series presented by Pirelli.
More information and tickets are available at www.detroitgp.com.