Detroit Unveils Downtown Track

From Indycar:

When the Chevrolet Detroit Grand Prix presented by Lear returns to its original home on the streets of Downtown Detroit in 2023, the event will connect with the neighborhoods and businesses in the Motor City like never before.

The Grand Prix will celebrate one more action-packed weekend at Belle Isle Park, June 3-5, 2022. Organizers confirmed Nov. 23 that a new era of the Detroit Grand Prix will begin June 2-4, 2023, when the event will bring a dynamic street-festival atmosphere to the Motor City. The new home of the Grand Prix will feature three full days of activities on some of Detroit’s most popular and active Downtown areas, including racing on a new 1.7-mile,10-turn street circuit along Jefferson Avenue, Bates Street, Atwater Street, St. Antoine, Franklin Street and Rivard.

The Grand Prix will provide unprecedented access to attendees with more than half of the event’s footprint along Jefferson Avenue and the Detroit Riverfront open free of charge. Grand Prix visitors will be able to enjoy complimentary access to the main fan activation areas at the event, including Spirit Plaza, Hart Plaza and the Riverwalk. Fans will be welcomed in these key areas that will feature live music, food, games and displays all weekend long, without the purchase of a Grand Prix ticket.

The unique design of the new Downtown Grand Prix layout will have minimal impact on traffic flow in Downtown Detroit as the track will not extend north of Jefferson Avenue. In fact, the transition to the new home of the Grand Prix in 2023 is expected to help boost the local economy, with increased foot traffic from event attendees for Downtown businesses and visitors helping to fill the local hotels, restaurants and bars throughout race weekend.

A recent economic study conducted by the University of Michigan’s Sports Management department with the Center for Sports Venues and Real Estate Development revealed that the transition of the Grand Prix to Downtown Detroit is expected to generate an estimated $77 million in total spending for the region, representing a 20 percent increase from the last Grand Prix economic study conducted in 2017.

“We are very excited to bring the Grand Prix back to Downtown Detroit beginning in 2023,” said Bud Denker, chairman of the Chevrolet Detroit Grand Prix presented by Lear. “Bringing this annual international event back to the streets of Detroit will help our businesses Downtown, will shine a light on our beautiful Riverfront with an inclusive summertime festival, and it will open up new opportunities to engage and connect with our local neighborhoods and communities.”

The Grand Prix’s proposal to return the event to its original home on the streets of Detroit was unanimously approved Nov. 3 by Detroit City Council. Since September, Grand Prix organizers have met with over 1,000 people throughout the city, listening to feedback and ideas on the Downtown relocation from Detroit residents, business leaders, neighborhood groups, city officials and more.

Enthusiasm and energy for the return of the Grand Prix to Downtown Detroit across all these diverse groups has opened up new opportunities for engagement with the event for the future. Grand Prix organizers have already started planning neighborhood activities and events in Detroit that will begin in 2022, including youth art and culture opportunities, spirit competitions, STEM educational initiatives through racing and more.

The Grand Prix will work to create an even deeper level of engagement with Detroit neighborhoods. In the coming months, the event will be working to connect some of its key founding partners to neighborhoods across the city to support specific programming and projects. This community connection will extend throughout the year with unique experiences and engagement opportunities for city residents during Grand Prix weekend.

In addition to its enhanced community outreach, the Grand Prix will continue its local charitable efforts while it transitions to Downtown in 2023. With the help of its partners, the Grand Prix has helped make more than $13.5 million in improvements to its current home on Belle Isle since 2007. More than $5 million in additional funds have been raised for the Belle Isle Conservancy over the last six years through the annual Grand Prixmiere Gala hosted on race weekend.

Grand Prix organizers will continue to host the successful Grand Prixmiere in the future and have pledged to extend its support for Belle Isle and the Belle Isle Conservancy. As part of its continued efforts, the Grand Prix will contribute a portion of the funds raised at the annual charity gala to ensure that the iconic Scott Fountain on Belle Isle will be up and running for the start of race weekend each year and the historic fountain will flow throughout the summer for park visitors to enjoy.

The Grand Prix also plans to contribute to several other Detroit-area charities in 2023 through the funds raised at the Grand Prixmiere. On Tuesday, Denker announced that the first organization that the event will contribute to annually is the Detroit Public Safety Foundation (DPSF). Founded to support the efforts of Detroit’s first responders, the DPSF helps provide programs that make Detroit a safer place to live, work and visit.

“We appreciate all that Detroit’s first responders do every day to help keep our city safe,” Denker said. “We would not be able to bring the Grand Prix back Downtown and host a world-class event in the Motor City without the help of the Detroit Police Department and the Detroit Fire Department, and we feel it’s so important to support everything they do year-round through the important work of the Detroit Public Safety Foundation.”

The Detroit Grand Prix began as a Formula One race on the streets of Motor City in 1982. Formula One raced annually in Detroit from 1982-88. In 1989, the Detroit Grand Prix welcomed Championship Auto Racing Teams (CART) as its primary series and the first INDYCAR races were hosted on the Detroit street circuit from 1989-91.

In 1992, the Grand Prix transitioned to Belle Isle with INDYCAR races on the island annually through 2001. After a six-year hiatus, the Grand Prix returned to Belle Isle thanks to the vision of Roger Penske and through the Downtown Detroit Partnership. Following successful events in 2007 and 2008, the Grand Prix paused for a few years due to the national recession and returned in 2012 with support from General Motors and Chevrolet serving as the event’s title sponsor.

The Chevrolet Detroit Grand Prix presented by Lear was hosted each summer on Belle Isle since 2012, before the global pandemic forced the cancellation of the event in 2020. After returning in 2021, the Grand Prix will celebrate its final event on Belle Isle, June 3-5, 2022, before returning to its home in Downtown Detroit in 2023.

For more information on the Chevrolet Detroit Grand Prix presented by Lear, visit www.DetroitGP.com. Previous Grand Prix ticketholders can renew their seats for next summer’s event, while all tickets for the 2022 Grand Prix will go on sale in January.

Penske Entertainment Corp. Provides Race for Equality & Change Update

From Indycar and Penske Entertainment Corp.:
INDIANAPOLIS, Saturday, Oct. 3, 2020 – Penske Entertainment Corp. announced several significant steps this morning related to its ongoing Race for Equality & Change initiative. This includes a major expansion of its relationship with NXG Youth Motorsports Inc. (NXG), a 501c3 that introduces minority students to motorsports. NXG uses the world of motorsports to provide students access to STEM curriculum, career pathways and valuable life lessons,” said Penske Entertainment Corp. President & CEO Mark Miles. “We’re thrilled to partner with Coach Rod Reid to support his tremendous work and the expansion of his program.” In addition, Jimmie McMillian was named Chief Diversity Officer for Penske Entertainment Corp. McMillian has been Senior Corporate Counsel for IMS and INDYCAR since 2016 and is nationally recognized as a strong and consistent voice for diversity in the legal profession. He is charged with leading the ongoing implementation of vital Race for Equality & Change pillars. “Jimmie is an impactful leader and a strong voice for inclusivity and diversity,” Miles said. “His experience, perspectives and community relationships will be a tremendous asset in this role. We’re grateful to have him guiding this significant and important effort for us.” NXG Expansion Penske Entertainment Corp., owner of the Indianapolis Motor Speedway (IMS) and INDYCAR, has teamed up with several corporate partners to provide increased funding and resources to NXG. More than half a million dollars in funds and in-kind contributions have been raised, with key donations coming from program title sponsor Lucas Oil, Penske Entertainment Corp., LifeSecure Insurance Company and Snap-on Incorporated. NXG will also be provided a permanent garage at IMS with brand-new tools from Snap-on. The increased funding and infrastructure further the program in several important ways, including allowing for a yearlong curriculum, increasing the number of students participating and enhancing the depth and quality of student experience. “The support from partners new and long-term, including LifeSecure Insurance, Snap-on, Penske Entertainment Corp. and Lucas Oil, will help us build upon the strong foundation we’ve established,” said Coach Reid. “Ultimately, we’ll be able to ensure more students have access to opportunities that teach vital life and career skills on a year-long basis.” Since its inception in 2006, NXG has introduced more than 1,000 boys and girls ages 11 to 16 to the educational benefits that can be derived from performance driving. It utilizes racing as a training tool for life-skill development, engaging participants in classroom and behind-the-wheel instruction. Participants are introduced to motorsports career opportunities such as engineering, marketing, management, food service, and health and fitness while being inspired to become safe, responsible future drivers. The announcement coincides with NXG’s season finale taking place this week at IMS as part of the INDYCAR Harvest GP presented by GMR. Race for Equality & Change Race for Equality & Change was unveiled during this year’s Brickyard 400 weekend and represents a major effort to support diversity and inclusivity across the INDYCAR industry. Key goals include: Recruiting and developing a diverse workforce throughout all levels of INDYCAR and IMS Diversifying the competitive driver field at the grassroots, Road to Indy and NTT INDYCAR SERIES levels Supporting impactful grassroots youth motorsports programs, like NXG Diversifying employment, leadership and ownership within the SERIES and with INDYCAR promoters Investment in minority communities to encourage greater engagement with INDYCAR and IMS Establishing a procurement program to meaningfully increase the number of minority-owned businesses that contract with INDYCAR and the Indianapolis Motor Speedway each year “I’m honored to take on this role and ready to help fuel change and inclusivity in our sport,” McMillian said. “Penske Entertainment Corp. is committed to making a difference, and today’s announcements are just the beginning of the important work and progress to come.” For more information, please visit IMS.com and INDYCAR.com.