Grand Prix To Stay On Belle Isle

The winners of the IMSA GT Daytona class, Katherine Legge and Mario Farnbacher in the Acura NSX-GT3 for Meyer Shank Racing with Curb-Agajanian, through turn 2 during race action at the 2018 IMSA competition on the Belle Isle Street Circuit in Detroit, Michigan, on 2 June 2018.<br>Photo by John Skinner.

The winners of the IMSA GT Daytona class, Katherine Legge and Mario Farnbacher in the Acura NSX-GT3 for Meyer Shank Racing with Curb-Agajanian, through turn 2 during race action at the 2018 IMSA competition on the Belle Isle Street Circuit in Detroit, Michigan, on 2 June 2018.
Photo by John Skinner.

(DETROIT, MI) – The Detroit Grand Prix and the Michigan Department of Natural Resources have reached an agreement for the annual motorsports festival to continue on Belle Isle for at least three more years. Under the terms of the agreement, the Grand Prix will return to its home on Belle Isle for three more years beginning in 2019, with an option for extending the agreement two additional years through 2023.

The previous agreement to host the Detroit Grand Prix on Belle Isle concluded with the 2018 race.

“We are excited that the Detroit Grand Prix will continue at Belle Isle for the next several years and we want to thank the State of Michigan for working with us on this new agreement, as well as our partners with City of Detroit and the Belle Isle Conservancy,” said Bud Denker, Chairman of the Grand Prix. “This event means so much to Detroit, to Windsor and our entire community.”

Grand Prix officials listened to public feedback on the future of the race over the past year, consulted with stakeholders, and made the decision to submit a proposal to the MDNR on July 13 to continue the event on the island. The MDNR, which manages the operation of Belle Isle Park, responded to the proposal with suggested changes on July 20.

The Grand Prix adjusted its proposal and today reached an agreement to secure the future of the event.

“We are proud to showcase the beauty of Belle Isle around the world every year and to make such a positive impact on the local economy with over $50 million in total spending generated annually as a result of the Grand Prix,” said Denker. “Most importantly, we want to continue our goal of improving Belle Isle Park.”

Canadian Indycar driver Robert Wickens rounds turn 8 at the 2018 Detroit Grand Prix on the Belle Isle Street Circuit, on 2 June.<br>Photo by Ian Shalapata.

Canadian Indycar driver Robert Wickens rounds turn 8 at the 2018 Detroit Grand Prix on the Belle Isle Street Circuit, on 2 June.
Photo by Ian Shalapata.

As a result of the feedback received from the public, the MDNR and the Belle Isle Park Advisory Committee, the Grand Prix has made some key changes under the new agreement that will continue to positively impact Belle Isle Park. The event will further reduce its overall build out and post-event take down time on the island to just 60 days in 2019 and 59 days in 2020 and 2021.

This represents a reduction of five days from the total time spent on the island in 2018 and a 35-day reduction from 2015.

“We listened to all of the feedback and we appreciate everyone’s perspective and support of the Grand Prix,” said Michael Montri, Grand Prix President. “This was an important process for all of us and we’ve made some significant changes to the event over the years as a result of the input we received from the public, as well as our partners.”

The Grand Prix will also increase its annual total contribution for hosting the event on Belle Isle from $200,000 to $450,000 for each year of the new agreement. This includes an annual $325,000 event fee and a contribution of $125,000 annually to be used by the MDNR for specific projects on Belle Isle.

The Grand Prix will also continue to host the Grand Prixmiere fundraising event on Friday night of event weekend over the course of the new agreement. The Grand Prixmiere has raised more than $4 million for the Belle Isle Conservancy over the last five years with the funds dedicated to improvements on the island.

“The Grand Prix has made over $13.5 million in improvements on the island over the last decade and we know there’s still a lot more work that needs to be done,” Denker said. “Our team looks forward to building on all of the positive momentum and being part of the remarkable renaissance going on at Belle Isle.”

With the new agreement in place, event officials confirmed the Chevrolet Detroit Grand Prix presented by Lear will return May 31 to June 2 in 2019, on Belle Isle, with its customary date of the weekend following Memorial Day, to start the summer season in the Motor City.

“We’re now focused on celebrating the 30th Grand Prix in Detroit’s history in 2019 and we’re excited to be back on Belle Isle,” said Montri.

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About the Author

Ian Shalapata
Ian Shalapata is the owner and publisher of Square Media Group. He covers politics, the police beat, community events, the arts, sports, and everything in between. His imagery and freelance contributions have appeared in select publications and for organizations in Canada and the United States. Contact Ian with story ideas.