© 2019 by Andy Pilgrim

Track Talk: Streets of Detroit


A 982-acre island in the Detroit River, Belle Isle is owned by the City of Detroit and managed by the State of Michigan.


It was home to the Detroit Grand Prix from 1992-2001, utilizing a temporary street circuit that was constructed specifically for the Championship Auto Racing Teams' (CART) races. In 2007 and 2008, it once again hosted world-class racing with both the open-wheel cars of the Verizon IndyCar Series and the sports cars of the American Le Mans Series competing at the event. After a four-year absence, the Chevrolet Detroit Belle Isle Grand Prix returned to the island in 2012 with the Verizon IndyCar Series, the GRAND-AM Rolex Sports Car Series and the Pirelli World Challenge Championship Series. The same racing series competed at the event in 2013 on the newly-reconfigured 2.35-mile Belle Isle street circuit while featuring the first doubleheader race weekend in the Verizon IndyCar Series.

















n 2014, the Grand Prix hosted a picture-perfect weekend on the Detroit River featuring another Verizon IndyCar Series doubleheader race weekend - the Chevrolet Dual in Detroit presented by Quicken Loans. The new unified sports car series also competed at Belle Isle with the TUDOR United SportsCar Championship and the Pirelli World Challenge Series also returned to the island. For the first time, the high-flying trucks of the SPEED Energy Formula Off-Road presented by TRAXXAS raced at the Grand Prix to the delight of the over 110,000 fans in attendance on race weekend.


In 2015, the same racing lineup as 2014 will appear on the island with the event taking center stage the weekend following Memorial Day, May 29-31.


Connected to Detroit by the MacArthur Bridge, various entities call Belle Isle home, including the Dossin Great Lakes Museum, the Detroit Boat Club Crew, the Detroit Yacht Club, a municipal golf course, an aquarium and a Coast Guard post.


The island also includes a half-mile swimming beach, the only one in the city, and a nature center. The aquarium opened in 1904, making it the oldest public aquarium in the United States.