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Detroit Grand Prix proposes relocating race to downtown Detroit

Proposed race track presented by Detroit Grand Prix officials to Detroit City Council on Tuesday.
Chevrolet Detroit Grand Prix presented by Lear
Proposed race route presented by Detroit Grand Prix officials to Detroit City Council on Tuesday.

The Chevrolet Detroit Grand Prix presented by Lear wants to move the annual Detroit Grand Prix to the streets of downtown Detroit from Belle Isle.

The proposed change would start in 2023. The 2022 Detroit Grand Prix will be held on Belle Isle on June 3-5.

The Grand Prix was last held downtown 30 years ago. It was moved to Belle Isle in 1992.

Race officials said a return of the racing event to Detroit city streets would boost the local economy and add to the vitality of the city’s downtown.

“There’s just a certain energy, an excitement, a buzz about a street race in an urban city that really creates something you can’t duplicate on Belle Isle,” said Merrill Cain, director of public relations for the Detroit Grand Prix.

“Grand Prix fans – and really just residents of Detroit – can experience the race and be able to experience all that else is going on in the city,” said Cain. “Being able to go to restaurants, go to bars, frequent the businesses, casinos, hotels. It’s all right there in downtown.”

Cain said the plan is for more than half the race to be viewable for free.

Grand Prix chair Bud Denker outlined the proposal to the Detroit City Council on Tuesday. Here is the slide presentation.

The move to relocate the race to downtown requires Council approval.

Detroit City Council President Brenda Jones has invited the public to a virtual conversation on Friday, October 1, from 5 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. to weigh in on the proposal to move the racing event.

Sandra Novacek is coordinator of Belle Isle Concern, a grassroots group that opposes the Detroit Grand Prix being held on Belle Isle.

"It's the right thing for the Grand Prix organization to move the Grand Prix off of Belle Isle," said Novacek. "The Grand Prix should never have been on Belle Isle in the first place. It was a mistake in terms of the welfare of the island and environmental reasons."

Virginia Gordan has been a part-time reporter at Michigan Radio since fall 2013. She has a general beat covering news topics from across the state.
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