Reporting Kathryn Larson
During a ride-along event for the Belle Isle Grand Prix, race Chairman Bud Denker assured fans that the track is race ready. Three Chevy drivers Will Power of Team Penske, Townsend Bell and Simona de Silvestro put the road to the test on the race event media day Monday, May 20.
“We’re just days away from as you mentioned the roar of engines back on Belle Isle.” Denker said confidently.
“Bringing this race back to Detroit has been a labor of love and we’re so proud of that. Roger announced years ago we’re going to do this here we are now making it happen. We spent about 1.8 – 1.9 million dollars on the race track this year getting it ready because we had a few potholes last year if you remember. Those are gone. We’re going to have an unbelievable race plus as the drivers are so excited about we have a brand new straightaways so the fans are going to see a lot more passing a lot more competition a lot more exciting racing going on Belle Isle,” said Denker.
The event will feature two races with the drivers in a first of its kind double-header and driver conditioning will be a factor on who ends up on the podium. Denker explained, “It’s the first time they’ve ever had two races on Belle Isle or two races for IndyCar in the same weekend in the history of the series so we’re going to put these drivers through 70 laps on Saturday, 70 laps on Sunday.”
“Only the fittest in terms of mentally and physically will be the ones that will make this …” said Denker.
The Grand Prix is set for June 1 – 3.
Weather on Belle Isle is unpredictable this time of year ranging from cold rain to scorching heat. How will the weather impact turnout and the race conditions? Denker said, “The fans of course would like to have a little bit of a breeze but for the drivers the cooler the better because it’s easier on their bodies but also the track is not as slick when it’s a little cooler.” “We expect it to be warm like it is here today our engineers are getting ready for that,” he continued.
Free Prix day on Friday is always a big draw for spectators allowing fans to tour the grounds and watch pre-race activities including practice laps and qualifying races.