After a long absence, the streets of the Motor City proper will hear race engines once again.
Open-wheel racing, and most of racing in general, happens on three types of tracks: an oval, a road course, or a street circuit. As we're more fans of F1 and IndyCar, we like the road course (with turns going both ways) over the oval. But really we like street circuits, like last week's Long Beach Grand Prix, the most.
Detroit has been the home of an IndyCar race for decades, since F1 left the city after 1988, but has raced mostly at Belle Isle Park, an island a few miles outside of the city set in the Detroit River. You may remember a famous executive-level crash at the park in a then-new Chevrolet Corvette in 2018. But this week, organizers were making the case to move the race back downtown, onto the newly paved surface streets, reports the Detroit Free Press.
President of the Penske Corp. and chairman of the Chevrolet Detroit Grand Prix Bud Denker presented the plan to the Detroit City Council this week. Next year's race will still be held on the island. "The Detroit Grand Prix has built a great tradition in the Motor City and we are excited to add to the event's legacy next year and beyond," the Grand Prix said in a statement.
"An annual summertime racing festival on the streets of Detroit would represent a connection to the rich heritage of the Grand Prix, the opportunity to engage with broad audiences and provide an even greater boost to the local economy while adding to the energy and momentum that is building downtown along with our beautiful waterfront," it concluded.
The Belle Isle Grand Prix is always a firestorm, with local residents complaining that they can't use the park for "several months," which is untrue. The GP takes over the southern third of the 1.5-square-mile island, leaving tons of space for picnics and play.
It looks like the track would run Jefferson, from Rivard to Hart Plaza, then back towards Bates, then Atwater past GM's Renaissance Center. The old city course ran the tunnel under then Cobo Hall, which looked epic, and we think they should reincorporate it into the course. If you have an itch to see what downtown Detroit racing might look like, check the video game GRID, it had the Motor City course in its first iteration.