Detroit Welcomes the World-Class Auto Racing

By: Ann Knapp

The return of world-class auto racing to the Motor City provided edge-of-the-seat excitement in 2007. Enhanced competition on the racetrack coupled with more entertainment options and increased fan comfort features, makes the Grand Prix an even hotter ticket event in 2008.

The 2007 event drew more than 100,000 fans flocking to Belle Isle over Labor Day weekend. But event planners are raising the bar even higher when it comes to the 2008 event, which include live musical entertainment, special discounts and weekend packages to make the event accessible to families and die-hard race fans. In addition, improvements to grandstand seating and transportation service off and on the island are also in the works.

The Grand Prix delivers value for the entertainment with tickets, on average, remaining virtually the same as they were over a decade ago for world-class auto racing in the city of Detroit. Keeping with a Grand Prix tradition in Detroit, Friday is Free Prix Day, where everyone is admitted free of charge. Special Motor City Club hospitality packages are also available, featuring reserved grandstand seating, paddock pass, a program and hat, as well as access to premiere food and beverage service at the Motor City Club chalet.

The 982-acre island in the Detroit River, Belle Isle became home to the Detroit Grand Prix from 1992-2001, utilizing a temporary street circuit that was constructed specifically for the CART races. In 2007, it once again hosted world-class racing with both the open-wheel cars of the IndyCar Series and the sports cars of the American Le Mans Series competing in the event.

Connected by the MacArthur Bridge, various entities call Belle Isle home, including the Dossin Great Lakes Museum, the Detroit Boat Club, the Detroit Yacht Club, a golf course, aquarium, and Coast Guard post. The island also includes a half-mile swimming beach, the only one in the city, and a nature center.

The Belle Isle aquarium opened in 1904, making it the oldest public aquarium in the United States. Landscaped by famed landscape architect Frederick L. Olmsted, the highlights of Belle Isle are the aquarium, Scott Fountain and the botanical garden in the Anna Scrips Whitcomb Conservatory. Belle Isle was also home to a large herd of European fallow deer for more than 50 years. A few remain as exhibits at the nature center, but the last of the 300 animals was captured in 2004 and relocated.

On Friday, Free Prix Day, guests enjoy practice and qualifying runs for the American Le Mans and IndyCar Series. Throughout the day, Meijer Fun Zone activities will be available. After 4:30 p.m., guests may gather at Firestone Paddock for Happy Hour. Saturday's events kick off with warm-up and race events for the American Le Mans Series, followed by practice and qualifying for the IndyCar Series. Driver autograph sessions for both series and a post-race concert bring the day to an exciting conclusion. Sunday's highlight is the 90-lap IndyCar Series warm-up and race. More family fun activities will be featured, along with an IndyCar Fan Forum and post-race concert.

Throughout the weekend, Corvette enthusiasts gather together with fellow Corvette owners and collectors to enjoy a display with more than 300 Corvettes during the Corvette Car Corral. Single and two-day ticket packages are available for purchase and are offered exclusively to Corvette owners.

In attending the Belle Isle Grand Prix, attendees will also be doing their part to help a true Detroit treasure - Belle Isle Park. The Detroit Belle Isle Grand Prix is being organized and promoted by a subsidiary of the Downtown Detroit Partnership whose chairman is Roger Penske. This charitable organization has been established to enable the net proceeds of the Grand Prix to fund measures to preserve and improve Belle Isle.

The Detroit Belle Isle Grand Prix is a signature event in what's expected to be one of the most exciting weekends in Detroit history. "3 Days in the D" will take place on Labor Day weekend and will consist of the Grand Prix, the Detroit International Jazz Festival and Oakland County's Arts, Beats & Eats celebration.

Top Searches on
Recreation and Sports
 • 
 • 
 • 
 • 
 • 
 • 
 • 
 • 
 • 
 • 
 • 
 • 
 • 
 • 
 • 
 • 
 • 
 • 
 • 
 • 

» More on Recreation and Sports
 



Share this article :
Click to see more related articles