Rising open-wheel star David Malukas, from Chicago, Ill., will lead a high-quality field of drivers representing nine different nations at this weekend’s eagerly anticipated Indy Lights Grand Prix of Detroit Presented by Cooper Tires. The event will be held in support of the NTT IndyCar Series Chevrolet Detroit Grand Prix presented by Lear and marks the return of the top rung on the widely acclaimed Road to Indy Presented by Cooper Tires open-wheel driver development ladder to the challenging The Raceway at Belle Isle Park street circuit for the first time since 2012 and only the second time in the past 21 years.
A pair of races, one each on Saturday and Sunday, June 12-13, will comprise rounds seven and eight of the 20-race Indy Lights Presented by Cooper Tires season. The series champion will earn a scholarship package valued at almost $1.3 million to guarantee entry into a minimum of three NTT IndyCar Series events in 2022, including the 106th Indianapolis 500.
Detroit was a staple on the Indy Lights calendar between 1989 and 2000. The first three races were held on a 2.5-mile downtown street circuit centered upon the distinctive Renaissance Center before the entire event was relocated to Belle Isle Park in 1992. Mexican rising star Adrian Fernandez took the checkered flag that year, while future NTT IndyCar Series champion Tony Kanaan, from Brazil, claimed his first North American race win at Belle Isle Park in 1996. Kanaan won again in 1997, edging then-teammate and countryman Helio Castroneves by just 0.335 of a second. The victory ultimately proved decisive as Kanaan beat Castroneves to the Indy Lights championship by just four points.
Castroneves went on to secure three NTT IndyCar Series victories at Belle Isle in 2000, 2001 and 2014 – a record matched only by six-time and defending series champion Scott Dixon (the winner in 2012, 2018 and 2019) – while Kanaan took top honors in 2007.
— Detroit Grand Prix (@detroitgp) June 4, 2021
Malukas is among an entire field of Indy Lights rising stars with intentions of following in their footsteps. The 19-year-old already has won three times this season for HMD Motorsports, claiming one victory during each of the three race weekends at Barber Motorsports Park, the Streets of St. Petersburg and the Indianapolis Grand Prix road course. He currently holds an 11-point edge over Global Racing Group with HMD Motorsports stablemate Linus Lundqvist, from Stockholm, Sweden.
The 22-year-old Lundqvist, who has claimed championships in British Formula 3 (2018) and the Formula Regional Americas Championship (2020), won impressively on his Indy Lights debut at Barber Motorsports Park, then returned to the winner’s circle at Indianapolis.
Fellow rookie Kyle Kirkwood, 22, from Jupiter, Fla., also has tasted the fruits of victory this year with an emphatic drive at St. Petersburg for Andretti Autosport. Kirkwood is seeking to become the first driver to win championships on all three levels of the Road to Indy after dominating the Cooper Tires USF2000 Championship in 2018 and adding the Indy Pro 2000 Championship Presented by Cooper Tires crown in 2019.
After succeeding Kirkwood as Indy Pro 2000 champion in 2020 and graduating to Indy Lights with Juncos Racing this year, Sting Ray Robb, 19, from Payette, Idaho, has been invited to fly the flag of presenting entitlement sponsor Lear Corporation this weekend with representation on his No. 2 Dallara IL-15. Robb will also be in attendance at The Chevrolet Detroit Grand Prix presented by Lear official event media lunch on Thursday.
The pair of Indy Lights races are set to start at 12:10 p.m. EDT on Saturday and at 10:35 a.m. on Sunday, immediately prior to both NTT IndyCar Series events. Coverage can be found on Peacock Premium in the U.S., on REV TV in Canada and internationally on The Race YouTube channel, the Road to Indy TV App and at RoadToIndy.TV and indylights.com.