Detroit Grand Prix plans big changes for downtown in 2023

An image of the Detroit Grand Prix Formula One race, as it was run in downtown Detroit during the 1980s and early 1990s. Photo by Chevrolet Detroit Grand Prix.

Organizers of the Chevrolet Detroit Grand Prix presented by Lear have promised a triumphant return to the downtown area in two years.

Details on the race’s return to downtown Detroit were announced Tuesday afternoon. The IndyCar race will be run on a new 1.7-mile, or 2.74-kilometre, ten-turn street track along Jefferson Avenue, Bates Street, Atwater Street, St. Antoine Street, Franklin Street and Rivard Street. The new course will encompass the GM Renaissance Center and Hart Plaza.

The relocated race will run from June 2 to June 4, 2023. The race had been run on Belle Isle on and off since 1992 and will be run on the island state park one last time from June 3 to June 5, 2022.

Race officials have promised a wide-open event that will bring the surrounding area into the party.

“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 neighbourhoods and communities,” said Detroit Grand Prix Chairman Bud Denker.

Detroit City Council unanimously approved the race’s return to downtown earlier this month.

The redesigned track will lessen the impact on downtown streets, and it will not go any further north than Jefferson Avenue. This change was made to encourage foot traffic between the race circuit and the downtown core’s shops, restaurants, and hotels. Also, half of the race’s footprint along Jefferson Avenue and the riverfront will be free of charge, with games, live music, and entertainment for the whole weekend.

The race had been run downtown from 1982 to 1988 as part of the Formula One circuit. As an IndyCar event, it ran downtown from 1989 to 1991. Organizers did have the option of running the race on Belle Isle through 2024.

The City of Windsor has been a frequent sponsor of the Grand Prix.

According to a recent economic study from the University of Michigan Department of Sports Management, in cooperation with the Center for Sports Venues and Real Estate Development, a move to downtown would have significant economic benefits. The study said that the transition of the Grand Prix to downtown could generate an estimated $77 million U.S. in total spending for the region.