DETROIT (WWJ) – The Grand Prix is on track to return to Belle Isle in 2012 after Detroit City Council approved a permit application on Tuesday.

Councilman James Tate said the Council approved the application and will continue to workout the details of the contract with the Detroit Grand Prix Association.

“The Grand Prix is important to the city of Detroit as are all major events, you know. This puts us on a national scale and its give the rest of the world an opportunity to be reintroduced to the city of Detroit,” Tate said.

But, the return of the Grand Prix is not a done deal. Race organizer Bud Denker, of the Penske Corp., said the next step is to secure the sponsor dollars needed to make the race a reality. Denker was quick to point out, however, that a number of sponsors are interested in being a part of the Grand Prix’s revival in Detroit.

In a poll, over 90 percent of those who voted said the city should bring the Grand Prix races back to Detroit.

The Detroit Grand Prix Association said the open wheel race is tentatively set for June 1-3 next year.

IndyCar races were held on the island from 1990 to 2001 and again in 2007 and 2008. The annual race stopped in 2008 because poor economic conditions resulted in too few sponsors.

The Detroit Metro Convention and Visitors Bureau said the 2008 races brought more than 100,000 people downtown, generating about $55 million in economic impact. In preparation of those 2008 races, the city spent $7 million in renovations to the course and the island.


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