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Detroit Indy Grand Prix

DETROIT – SEPTEMBER 2: Scott Dixon drives the #9 Target Chip Ganassi Racing Dallara Honda during the IRL IndyCar Series, Detroit Indy Grand Prix at The Raceway at Belle Isle September 2, 2007 in Detroit, Michigan. (Photo by Nick Laham/Getty Images)

The time is almost here and the clock is ticking down for The Detroit Grand Prix!  After 30 years of being on Belle Isle, the Detroit Grand Prix is moving….home?

  • America's Formula One / CART Years

    From 1982 to 1988 the Grand Prix was home to the only Formula One races in the United States. The original course was almost 2.5 miles long and filled with many corners.  In 1982, the inaugural race had patchy weather conditions (go figure).  Qualifying conditions were not the same for all and the drivers had little practice time on the complex course.  Northern Ireland’s John Watson had the 17th starting position on the grid.  His car was constructed by McLaren-Ford.  He stormed through the field to become the very first winner of the Detroit Grand PrixAyrton Senna from Brazil would go on to win the final three years of this incantation of the race (1986-1988).

    By 1989, the rough course combined with inadequate pits and garages led to a plan to move the course to Belle Isle.  The best-laid plans can still go awry.  Belle Isle fell through and the race was left with no place to call home in Detroit.  In 1989, The Grand Prix Formula One left Detroit. The same year, Detroit racing returned as a CART, (or Champ Car World Series) event.  The track was still centered around the Renaissance Center, but course conditions were still less than desirable.  After a crash by Mario Andretti, the event was scrapped in 1991.

  • The Belle Isle - Early Years

    Enter Belle Isle… again.  Belle Isle is put into the plans of the Detroit Grand Prix and this time it becomes a reality. In 1992, the course is temporarily set on Belle Isle. The locals were not fans of the pits and garages required by Formula One, but they were okay with CART-style (open-wheel car) racing. In 1998 the course was altered to improve its smoothness.  For the first time in a while, the competitors praised the improvements.  The Detroit Grand Prix continued under the CART/Champ Car banner until 2001 before it dissolved under structural issues with the CART organization.

     

     

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    Even with the improvements, the race still suffered from complaints from all sides. The competitors complained about the lack of competitiveness due to the design and maintenance of the course. And this lack of competitiveness affected the fans’ overall viewpoint. So in 2001 the race was once again, put on hiatus and without a home.

  • Belle Isle - The Roger Penske Years

    Roger Penske, one of the more successful and wealthy men in America, helped the Detroit Grand Prix return in 2007 to much fanfare.  Both the handling of the crowds and the track were greatly approved. 2007 was so successful they ran the race again in 2008. But, again the race was shut down, due to challenging economic times.  Roger Penske did not give up.  The Detroit Grand Prix returned once again to Belle Isle in 2012 as a two-day event with improved course conditions.  2019 marked the 30th running of the Detroit Grand Prix.  Covid closures canceled the 2020 Detroit Grand Prix, but last year’s event was better than ever.  Then came the big announcement of the return to Downtown Detroit after the 2022 race.

     

     

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  • The 2022 Cheverolet Detroit Grand Prix Presented by Lear

    This weekend, June 3rd-June 5th will be the final races for The Detroit Grand Prix on Belle Isle.   Click here for ticket info.  As they continue the race, whether, on Belle Isle or Downtown Detroit, there is always a strong presence on how to make the race and the course better for the racers and the fans.

    We celebrate the Detroit Grand Prix by giving you some of the best classic rock songs about cars and driving.

    What songs would you put at the top of your racing playlist?

  • Panama - Van Halen

    Classic David Leee Roth: After Dave was asked in an interview why all of his songs were about sex, drugs, and fast cars, Dave thought, “Hey!  I’ve never written a song about a car!”  He wrote Panama which is about a car, but Dave admitted later, that it’s also about a stripper.  Some habits are hard to break.

  • Radar Love - Golden Earing

    “I’ve been drivin’ all night, my hands are wet on the wheel.”  From the first line, Golden Earring paints a picture and hits a beat… a very consistent beat (the song is all 4/4 time and 100 BPM).  Remember this song from the movie, Detroit Rock City?  Side note:  There is some SERIOUS 1973 fashion going on in this video, friend.

  • I Can't Drive 55 - Sammy Hagar

    Epic video… this song is quintessential driving playlist material.  Sammy Hagar wrote this as a protest song regarding the National Maximum Speed Law that set the speed limit at 55 MPH.  He wrote it after he got a speeding ticket in New York for driving 62 in a 55!  I don’t blame him for being p!$$ed.

  • Hot Rod Lincoln - Commander Cody and His Lost Planet Airmen

    What an education! Commander Cody and His Lost Airmen formed while they were attending U of M.  The song was their only hit. It was first recorded and released by Charlie Ryan and The Livingston Brothers in 1955.

     

  • Drive My Car - The Beatles

    Lennon decided to flip the script on this one… The woman is soliciting the man to be her driver.  The “beep beep” refrain is a take-off on The Beatles own “yeah, yeah yeah”s in “She Loves You.”

  • WCSX loves racing

    Cars, racing, and speed are as classic as they get. And who loves classics? We do! WCSX is going to be on hand all weekend for The Detroit Grand Prix presented by Lear. City of the Week is already there getting an inside look at the preparation before this grandiose and monumental event. Check out the pictures below.

    Island of the Week: Belle Isle 2022 Photo Gallery