In a post-event press conference with the media following Sunday’s Race 2 of the 2016 Chevrolet Dual in Detroit for the Verizon IndyCar Series, Chevrolet Detroit Belle Isle Grand Prix Chairman Bud Denker confirmed that the event will be back in 2017.
Though racing was absent from the Motor City from 2009 to 2012, the now-official 2017 edition of the Detroit Belle Isle Grand Prix will mark a decade since the event’s revival in 2007.
“We’ve got an agreement with INDYCAR that we recently extended, and we will have a Dual in Detroit again as a result of that,” Denker said during the press conference.
Beyond the unique doubleheader weekend for the Verizon IndyCar Series, Denker guaranteed the return of another key series for next year.
“The Stadium SUPER Trucks Series is year to year and the Trans Am Series is year to year but IMSA will be back here again as well.”
As for the date of the event, the Verizon IndyCar Series and IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship, along with the year-to-year support series once deals are reached, will return to Belle Isle on June 2–4, 2017.
Denker also confirmed the vital return of title sponsor Chevrolet for next year.
Doubleheader Back for 2017
With the doubleheader format of the Detroit weekend for IndyCar not disappearing until at least 2018, Denker recognizes the additional physicality of pulling double duty by racing on consecutive days on an agonizingly bumpy and brutal street circuit.
“It’s tough for not just the drivers here, but it’s tough for the crews — especially when you have an accident on Saturday and have to work all night long to fix your car for Sunday.
“We’re going to look at changing the track and grinding the track. I’m not saying yes, I’m not saying no, but we’re going to take a good hard look at it.
“I would say this: We’re racers. We’re not just promoters, we’re racers. Some people are in the business to race; we’re racers. So we want to have a good product and one that is fair and one that is also safe.”
In taking place on the first weekend of June, the Detroit round will serve as the follow-up weekend to the Indianapolis 500 for the IndyCar field just like in previous years.
“We always want that same date after the Indianapolis 500,” Denker continued.
“First of all, we have the coattail effect of Indy, but here in Michigan kids are still in school this week. When those kids get out of school, where do people go? They go up north.”
IMSA DPi Platform to Race in Detroit
As for the WeatherTech Championship, the series’ 2016 visit to Belle Isle marked the final street circuit race for the Corvette DP, with Wayne Taylor Racing’s win securing a perfect record for the car in half a decade of racing in Detroit.
Daytona Prototype machinery will be phased out at the end of this season, meaning only LMP2-style cars will race for the overall win next June in Detroit in the form of the new DPi (Daytona Prototype international) platform.
The Detroit event pulled in a strong crowd this year, with Denker reporting unofficially that just shy of 100,000 race fans made their way onto Belle Isle throughout the three-day weekend.