The next Detroit Grand Prix could be the last one held on the island park setting of Belle Isle.
RACER has learned the Detroit GP, founded in 1982 as a Formula 1 event that ran around Cobo Hall, General Motors’ Renaissance Center, and other downtown landmarks, is likely returning to its roots as a street race in 2023.
DGP chairman and Penske Corporation president Bud Denker made a presentation to the Detroit City Council Monday night that would, with approval, return auto racing to some of the familiar street names featured decades ago when F1 and, for a brief period, the CART IndyCar Series raced throughout the heart of Motor City.
The proposed layout would be shorter than the last iteration used in 1991, coming in at 1.7 miles in length. In another twist, the revised layout would make approximately 50 percent of the track viewable to the public for free. Inspiration for the requested shift from Belle Isle to a proper city setting is said to come from the big response to the new Nashville Grand Prix held in August, which energized a town already known for its celebratory ways.
Asked for comment, a DGP representative supplied the following statement: “We are exploring the option of returning the event to a downtown street circuit beginning in 2023. And 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 and along our beautiful waterfront.”