With just 52 days remaining before the return of the Chevrolet Detroit Belle Isle Grand Prix, work on the infrastructure and facilities at the 2.1-mile Raceway at Belle Isle Park street circuit has officially begun.
Several dozen workers were on the island today erecting grandstands and moving massive concrete barriers into place with heavy equipment. Bike riders and joggers navigated around the construction areas.
The event, which was last held on Belle Isle in 2008, will run June 1-3 and will feature the stars of the IZOD IndyCar Series, the Grand-Am Rolex Sports Car Series, the Pirelli World Challenge Series and the Firestone Indy Lights Series. The race will be shown on ABC (Channel 7 in Detroit) at 3:30 p.m. June 3.
“It’s quite an experience to watch a vibrant island park like Belle Isle turn into a first-class racing venue before our eyes,” said Bud Denker, event chairman for the race. “The island will be literally changing every day as we prepare for the return of the Grand Prix to the Motor City.”
Back in 2008, British driver Justin Wilson won the race when Team Penske’s Helio Castroneves was penalized for blocking tactics.
The event was cancelled in 2009 because of the chronic state of Detroit’s economy. It has been revived through the joint efforts of the city of Detroit, Birmingham motorsports legend Roger Penske, the IndyCar Series and local auto manufacturers and sponsors.