Detroit Grand Prix to Stay on Belle Isle

August 10, 2018 at 12:46 PM

Organizers of the Detroit Grand Prix and the Michigan Dept. of Natural Resources have signed an agreement to keep the IndyCar Series races on Belle Isle through at least 2021.

Under the new pact, which includes a two-year option through 2023, the annual fee for the two-race weekend increases from $200,000 to $325,000. The Grand Prix also will contribute $125,000 for the DNR to use for upkeep and improvements on Belle Isle, which is located a mile east of downtown Detroit. The weekend is the only one on the circuit to stage two complete IndyCar races back to back.

The agreement reduces the total time spent on Belle Isle for the so-called Dual in Detroit races—including set-up, race week and cleanup—to 60 days in 2019 and 59 days in 2020. The previous contract, which expired after this year’s race in June, allowed for 84 days.

An estimated 105,000 people attended the three-day event this year, up from about 100,000 in 2017. The annual Grand Prixmiere fundraiser has collected more than $4 million for the Belle Isle Conservancy over the last five years. The funds are used for improvements on the island and allowing for free public admission to its aquarium and botanical gardens.

The Detroit Grand Prix has been held on Belle Isle off and on since 1992, including a continuous run for the past seven years. The streets of downtown Detroit also hosted Formula One races in the 1980s and a CART race in the early 1990s.

Ryan Hunter-Reay won this year’s race for Andretti Autosport powered by a Honda engine. The race is currently sponsored by General Motors Co.’s Chevrolet unit and Lear Corp.