The Chevrolet Detroit Grand Prix is back on Belle Isle, this weekend, June 1-3. In fact, be sure to catch the Grand Prix this year because next year it might be somewhere else in Metro Detroit. That’s right, the Detroit Grand Prix has a contract with Belle Isle State Park through the state’s Department of Natural Resources (DNR) to run the world famous race on the island. The agreement expires after the 2018 race and it’s not clear whether or not it will be renewed. Regardless of what happens next year, you’re sure to have a great time at this year’s race.
The Formula 1 race cars are specifically designed for high speeds and sharp turns. Having these cars wind through Belle Isle, so close to the edge of the road and so close to the water, is incredible. The same streets that hold joggers, bicycles and vans packed up with birthday & family reunion supplies will host the fastest cars on the road.
With speeds over 200 miles per hour, Formula 1 racing requires precision and collaboration. Each race car cost millions of dollars and has tens of thousands of component parts that must all come together on race day. The crew, driver and car all have specific jobs to do in order to avoid the obvious risks that can occur at such high rates of speed. It takes a toll. For instance, the average driver loses 8.8 pounds during a race. A person who has lost 4% of body weight can lose up to 40% of their mental-physical abilities. The drivers will be put to the test along the narrow streets and corners of the lower half of the island. The drivers are not the only part of the competition tested to the limits. The race car’s disc brakes heat up to over 2000 degrees Fahrenheit during a race, which might explain why the car’s tires can lose over 1.1 pounds of rubber before they need to be changed. Indeed, a top Formula 1 pit crew can refuel the race car and change the tires in just three seconds. When it all comes together, the car, the driver and the crew, it’s a loud, fast and exciting spectacle.
Pretty amazing to realize all this is happening on an island in the middle of the Detroit River!
June 1 is qualifying and practice laps. Many sponsors are giving away free passes for Friday’s racing. Arrive anytime between 7:30 a.m. – 5:00 p.m. for general admission to the grandstands and paddock.
June 2 warms up at 8:00 a.m. sharp and the first race is the Muscle Car Challenge 45 minutes later. Autograph sessions and other fan experiences will be available. Racing continues all day with the televised main events – Sports Car Classic at 12:30 p.m. and Dual in Detroit #1 at 3:30 p.m. The entire day of racing concludes with a concert featuring musical duo, A Great Big World, around 6:00 p.m. once the day’s awards have been handed out.
June 3 begins at 9:30 a.m. with an autograph session with the drivers. Qualifying races lead into the Motor City Dash at 11:45 a.m., the SUPER Truck Series at 2:00 p.m. and finally, the Dual in Detroit #2 at 3:30 p.m.
Many Detroiters and Michiganders enjoy the sights and sounds from their boats alongside Belle Isle. If you are looking for a fun spot nearby to dock a boat or grab a bite to eat before or after the race, try Sindbad’s Restaurant and Marina at 100 St. Clair St. in Detroit.
Without a boat, a ticket is required for access to Belle Isle. Parking is available along East Jefferson Avenue in various locations with shuttles on and off the island. Tickets for the 2018 Grand Prix range from $55-105 with pricing for children, seniors, bleacher seating, and premium reserved tickets. Or buy a ticket for the whole weekend for $150.
Have you attended the Grand Prix in previous years? Or are you planning to attend this year? Tell us in the comments below.