With a little less than two weeks to go before the Chevrolet Detroit Belle Isle Grand Prix takes over the Motor City’s famed island park for three days of fun, excitement and racing, preparations for the fast and furious event are on schedule, according to Grand Prix officials. The event, which will be held from May 31– June 2, is expected to draw more than 100,000-plus fans and will garner a national television audience of millions.
Grand Prix officials are working long days to assure that the event is entertaining and memorable as some of the world’s greatest race drivers will compete in some of the world’s most powerful and fastest cars. “We are moving forward,” said Charles Burns, general manager for the Chevrolet Detroit Belle Isle Grand Prix. “We are getting geared up for a first-class event. Roger Penske and Bud Denker (event chairman) have set the standard for excellence, and we have a great team that really wants to perform well and showcase the Grand Prix, Belle Isle, and the city of Detroit. So we are staying on top of all the details and preparations necessary to make this event successful.”
Staying on top of details has included a recent long drive from Detroit to Birmingham, Alabama for Burns. “Two of the three racing series that will be held on Detroit’s Belle Isle will be held at Barber Motorsports Park in Birmingham this weekend (April 5-7), said Burns, via cell phone, as he motored towards Birmingham. “So I’m going down to Birmingham to talk with officials from both series about some logistical things that we have to work through. In addition, I want to spread the good word down there about our great event on Belle Isle which is right around the corner.”
This year’s Chevrolet Detroit Belle Isle Grand Prix will feature the Chevrolet Indy Dual in Detroit presented by Quicken Loans featuring the cars of the IZOD IndyCar Series, the Chevrolet GRAND-AM 200 at Belle Isle presented by the Metro Detroit Chevy Dealers with the sports cars of the GRAND-AM Rolex Series, and the Cadillac V-Series Challenge presented by the Metro Detroit Cadillac Dealers featuring the cars of the Pirelli World Challenge Championship Series. ABC will nationally televise the IndyCar races on Saturday and Sunday.
In addition to the various racing series, Grand Prix attendees will be entertained by national recording acts. On Friday, Detroit’s own Dwele will showcase his vocal talents on the MotorCity Casino Hotel Entertainment Stage as part of the Free Prix Day at the Grand Prix. On that Friday, everyone will be admitted to the Raceway at Belle Isle Park free of charge. “Dwele is a true Detroit success story and we’re very excited to bring his unique sound to the MotorCity Casino Hotel Entertainment Stage on Friday night at the Grand Prix,” said Bud Denker, chairman of the Chevrolet Detroit Belle Isle Grand Prix. “With some great action on track Friday and Dwele highlighting a strong entertainment lineup, fans will have a terrific experience on Free Prix Day.” Dwele’s performance will follow a full opening day of track activity featuring practice and qualifying for the IZOD IndyCar Series, the GRAND-AM Rolex Sports Car Series, and the Pirelli World Challenge Series on the newly-configured 2.3-mile Belle Isle street circuit.
The MotorCity Casino Hotel Entertainment Stage at the Grand Prix will also welcome rock icon Bret Michaels on Saturday evening and modern-rock band Plain White T’s on Sunday afternoon. Several other local artists will also perform on the stage throughout the weekend. Burns added that there will be something at the Grand Prix for everyone, including the Meijer Family Fun Zone and the Quicken Loans Go-Kart Track. He also said there will be some events beginning the Tuesday before the Grand Prix weekend. Stay tuned!
For Burns, Detroit has made a great impression on the West Lafayette, Indiana native. “I love Detroit,” said Burns, who moved to the Motor City last year. “There are so many positive things going on that the world doesn’t know about. When Roger Penske and Bud Denker offered me the opportunity to come to Detroit as the general manager for the Chevrolet Detroit Belle Isle Grand Prix, it was a no brainer. I saw it as an opportunity to come to a great city and work with an outstanding company (Penske Corporation) and a team of individuals committed to not only making the Chevrolet Detroit Belle Isle Grand Prix successful, but also committed to making Detroit a better place.
“We are all working long hours, but it has been great. It will be so special and rewarding to see our fans smile and having a grand time when they get to the island and witness all of the wonderful events and activities connected to this year’s Chevrolet Detroit Belle Isle Grand Prix.”