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Grand Prix To Return To Belle Isle In 2012

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Roger Penske announces return of the Grand Prix to Belle Isle in 2012. (WWJ Photo/Pat Sweeting)

Roger Penske announces return of the Grand Prix to Belle Isle in 2012. (WWJ Photo/Pat Sweeting)

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DETROIT (WWJ) – The Grand Prix is headed back to Belle Isle in 2012.

Taking part in the announcement in Downtown Detroit Wednesday was Penske Corporation Chairman Roger Penske who has been a driving force behind the Detroit Grand Prix.

He said the June 1-3 event will be the first big race of the season. Along with the IZOD Indy Car series, there’ll be a trio of other races on Chevrolet Indy Grand Prix weekend.

“The Grand Am Rolex Sports Car series, the Pirelli World Challenge and the Indy Lights. This represents a full and exciting program that will provide an incredible show on the Belle Isle Road circuit,” Penske said.

GM North America President Mark Reuss said Chevrolet has long been involved in car racing and will return to the IZOD Indy Car series with a new engine next year.

“Twin-turbo, direct injected, 2.2 litre V-6 racing engine. It’s developed by GM and Elmore Engineering. The Chevrolet V-6 is as lean as it is mean with an aluminum block and cylinder heads and powered by E85 ethanol fuel,” Reuss said.

Detroit Mayor Dave Bing said there was never a time when he doubted the Grand Prix would return to the motor city.

The mayor said he’s pleased to have Roger Penske as one of the Grand Prix’s corporate sponsors; without him it wouldn’t have happened.

Bing also gave a nod to other sporting events drawing positive attention to the city.

“We’ve kinda’ been on a whirlwind; a winning streak which hasn’t happened here in a long, long time. Um, we have at this point a championship series in … the American league. Our Tigers won last night. Go Tigers!

There applause from the crowd for the Detroit Lions as well, whom the mayor noted were undefeated for the first time in more than 40 years. Both teams have brought thousands of fans to Detroit and the Grand Prix, Mayor Bing said, will do wonders for Detroit and Belle Isle where millions will be spent to make it as iconic as it used to be.

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