By Edward Cardenas

DETROIT (CBS Detroit) –  The green flag drops for racing Friday at the Chevrolet Detroit Belle Isle Grand Prix, but before the professional drivers hit the course, I got an opportunity to take a hot lap around the 14-turn, 2.35 mile course.

Organizers didn’t give me a chance to be an actual race car driver, but to be a passenger in a modified two-seat, Indy Racing Experience IndyCar.

After driving my conventional passenger car to the Raceway at Belle Isle Park, I checked in and began my pre-race preparations.

  • Sign all the necessary legal documents – check.
  • Get fitted for a firesuit – check.
  • Find a headsock – check.
  • Locate a XXL helmet to fit over my nearly size 8 head – just barely check.

Then it was time to head to the race course and wait my turn to take a hot lap around the island.

Once my it was my turn, I squeezed by six-foot, 200ish pound body into the back seat in the cockpit. What I gave up in space – my knees seemed to be just a few feet from my helmet – I traded for safety which included a multi-point seat belt and neck brace.

There were no handles for my hands, so I held my knees and the sides of my legs once the engine was fired up and driver Martin Plowman quickly squealed the tires and took off.

In the attached video you can see the gear shifts when my head jerks, the G-forces which caused my body to be pushed from one side of the car to the other and the glee of hitting nearly 160 miles per hour and catching a quick view of Canada and downtown Detroit as we navigated the track.

The lap took just under two minutes, and in a flash, we were back in the pits. Although my stomach may still be turn four.

The Chevrolet Detroit Belle Isle Grand Prix starts Friday with Free Prix Day for a full day of qualifying. Tickets are not required for the first day of the Grand Prix, but are needed for admission Saturday and Sunday.

Also there is no public parking on the island. Attendees need to take a free, round-trip shuttle from downtown Detroit, or a ferry from downtown to Belle Isle.

Below is a full list of events for the race:

Friday, May 29, 2015
7:30 a.m. Gates Open
7:30 a.m. TUDOR Championship Garage opens
8:00 a.m. – 8:30 a.m. Pirelli World Challenge Practice #1 (GT/GTA)
8:40 a.m. IMSA Hot Lap Experience Course Clearance Lap (by invitation only)
8:45 a.m. – 10:15 a.m. TUDOR Championship Practice #1 (P/PC/GT Daytona)
10:35 a.m. – 11:50 a.m. Verizon IndyCar Series Practice #1
12:10 p.m. – 12:40 p.m. Pirelli World Challenge Practice #2 (GT/GTA)
12:50 p.m. – 1:10 p.m. Corvette Corral Track Laps
1:10 p.m. IMSA Hot Lap Experience Course Clearance Lap (by invitation only)
1:15 p.m. – 2:45 p.m. TUDOR Championship Practice #2 (P1/PC/GT Daytona)
2:50 p.m. – 3:00 p.m. SPEED Energy Formula Off-Road presented by TRAXXAS pre-race ceremonies
3:00 p.m. – 3:20 p.m. SPEED Energy Formula Off-Road presented by TRAXXAS – Race #1
3:20 p.m. – 3:30 p.m. SPEED Energy Formula Off-Road presented by TRAXXAS post-race ceremonies
3:40 p.m. – 4:55 p.m. Verizon IndyCar Series Qualifying – Dual I
5:05 p.m. IMSA Hot Lap Experience Course Clearance Lap (by invitation only)
5:10 p.m. – 5:25 p.m. TUDOR Championship Qualifying (GT Daytona)
5:30 p.m. – 5:45 p.m. TUDOR Championship Qualifying (Prototype Challenge)
5:55 p.m. – 6:10 p.m. TUDOR Championship Qualifying (Prototype)

Saturday, May 30, 2015
7:30 a.m. Gates Open
7:30 a.m. – 8:00 a.m. Pirelli World Challenge Qualifying – Race #1 (GT/GTA)
8:10 a.m. IMSA Hot Lap Experience Course Clearance Lap (by invitation only)
8:15 a.m. – 8:35 a.m. TUDOR Championship Warm-Up (P/PC/GT Daytona)
8:55 a.m. – 9:25 a.m. Verizon IndyCar Series – Practice #2
9:30 a.m. – 10:15 a.m. TUDOR Championship Drivers’ Autograph Session – IMSA FAN ZONE Trailer
9:35 a.m. –9:50 a.m. Pirelli World Challenge Pre-race ceremonies – Race #1
9:50 a.m. – 10:50 a.m. Cadillac V-Series Challenge presented by the Metro Detroit Cadillac Dealers – Race #1
10:00 a.m. – 10:30 a.m. TUDOR Championship Live Auction for Austin Hatcher Foundation – IMSA Fan Zone
10:50 a.m. – 11:05 a.m. Pirelli World Challenge Post-race ceremonies
11:05 a.m. – 11:55 a.m. TUDOR Championship Pre-Race/Recon Lap/IMSA Hot Lap Experience (by invitation only)
11:15 a.m. – 11:45 a.m. TUDOR Championship – Open Grid Fan Walk – Pit Lane
11:55 a.m. – 12:05 p.m. TUDOR Championship – Formation Laps
12:05 p.m. – 1:45 p.m. Chevrolet Sports Car Classic presented by the Metro Detroit Chevy Dealers – 100 min.
1:45 p.m. – 2:15 p.m. TUDOR United SportsCar Championship Post-Race Ceremonies
2:15 p.m. – 2:25 p.m. SPEED Energy Formula Off-Road presented by TRAXXAS pre-race
2:25 p.m. – 2:45 p.m. SPEED Energy Formula Off-Road presented by TRAXXAS – Race #2
2:45 p.m. – 3:00 p.m. SPEED Energy Formula Off-Road presented by TRAXXAS – post-race ceremonies
3:00 p.m. – 3:30 p.m. Verizon IndyCar Series pre-race
3:30 p.m. – 6:00 p.m. Chevrolet Dual in Detroit presented by Quicken Loans – Dual I (70 laps)
3:50 p.m. (estimated) Green Flag waves
5:45 p.m. (estimated) Verizon IndyCar Series post-race ceremonies (near Start/Finish area)
6:00 p.m. (estimated) Concert: 3 Doors Down (MotorCity Casino Hotel Entertainment Stage)
6:30 p.m. – 7:30 p.m. Corvette Corral Track Laps

Sunday, May 31, 2015
8:00 a.m. Gates Open
8:05 a.m. – 8:20 a.m. SPEED Energy Formula Off-Road presented by TRAXXAS Practice/Qualifying – Race #3
8:35 a.m. – 9:05 a.m. Pirelli World Challenge Warm-Up – Race #2 (GT/GTA)
9:15 a.m. – 9:45 a.m. Cadillac Corral Track Laps
9:45 a.m. – 10:15 a.m. Corvette Corral Track Laps
10:20 a.m. – 10:25 a.m. Verizon IndyCar Series Systems Check
10:25 a.m. – 11:10 a.m. IndyCar Experience (2-seater) and Pace Car Rides
11:25 a.m. – 11:55 a.m. Verizon IndyCar Series Qualifying – Dual II (split groups)
11:55 p.m. – 12:10 p.m. Pirelli World Challenge Pre-race
12:10 p.m. – 1:10 p.m. Cadillac V-Series Challenge presented by the Metro Detroit Cadillac Dealers – Race #2
1:10 p.m. – 1:25 p.m. Pirelli World Challenge post-race ceremonies
1:15 p.m. – 2:15 p.m. Concert: Smash Mouth (MotorCity Casino Hotel Entertainment Stage)
1:25 p.m. – 1:55 p.m. IndyCar Experience (2-seater) and Pace Car Rides (promoter session)
2:05 p.m. – 2:15 p.m. SPEED Energy Formula Off-Road presented by TRAXXAS pre-race
2:15 p.m. – 2:35 p.m. SPEED Energy Formula Off-Road presented by TRAXXAS – Race #3
2:35 p.m. – 2:50 p.m. SPEED Energy Formula Off-Road presented by TRAXXAS post-race ceremonies
3:00 p.m. – 3:30 p.m. Verizon IndyCar Series Pre-race
3:30 p.m. – 6:00 p.m. Chevrolet Dual in Detroit presented by Quicken Loans – Dual II (70 laps)
3:50 p.m. (estimated) Green Flag waves
5:45 p.m. (estimated) Verizon IndyCar Series post-race ceremonies

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