Encyclopedia Of Detroit

Detroit Grand Prix

Modern championship auto racing has taken place in the city of Detroit in several forms and locations since the early eighties. From 1982-1988, Formula One cars raced on downtown Detroit streets on a 2.5-mile circuit near the Renaissance Center – a reportedly grueling race. In 1989, plans to move the Formula One race to a new circuit at Belle Isle fell through and the Grand Prix race moved to Phoenix, Arizona.

In 1989 the race was replaced by a Championship Auto Racing Teams (CART) race that took place on a modified street-circuit, 2.5 miles in downtown Detroit until it was moved to Belle Isle in 1992. In 2001, CART dropped the race because of Belle Isle’s narrow raceway and insufficient areas for teams’ support activities.

Roger Penske and the Downtown Detroit Partnership revived the race in 2007 as the Detroit Indy Grand Prix presented by Firestone. It was a success and the event was held again in 2008. Unfortunately, the 2009 race was canceled due to the automotive economic crisis. On October 11, 2011 it was announced that the race on Belle Isle would return in 2012. The event has been named many ways, and in 2018 was called the Chevrolet Detroit Grand Prix presented by Lear Corporation. The series features an IndyCar race each weekend day.

Environmentalists claim the race is doing harm to the island’s ecosystem, and other protestors claim the set up and take down preparations for the race occupy too much time, limiting access to parts of the park. Grand Prix representatives point out their organization has made more than $13 million of improvements to the island since 2007. In renewing the contract for use of the island, the Detroit Grand Prix has agreed to reduce the number of days for set up and take-down, as well as donate funds for park improvement projects.



1983 Detroit Grand Prix Program

Press information for 1983 Detroit Grand Prix 

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