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Detroit Belle Isle returns to series in 2012

The IndyCar Series is to return to Detroit's Belle Isle Park road course in 2012, in a multi-year deal between the series, Penske Racing and engine suppliers Chevrolet.
IndyCar is to return to the historic and scenic 2.1-mile semi-permanent raceway on Detroit's Belle Isle for the first time in four years, starting from next June.

The circuit, which hosted a Formula 1 Grand Prix event in 1982 before going on to stage 12 CART series events from 1989 to 2001 and two revival events under the IRL banner in 2007 and 2008, is returning under a multi-year deal between IndyCar, Penske Racing and General Motors subsidiary Chevrolet which is itself returning to the series as an engine supplier next season.

"The Grand Prix will draw international attention and visitors to Belle Isle, which is one of the most-scenic race venues in the United States," said team owner Roger Penske. "We believe the Chevrolet Detroit Belle Isle Grand Prix will be one of the most-popular races in the IZOD IndyCar Series and will play a major role in continuing the renaissance of Detroit."

The first Chevrolet Detroit Belle Isle Grand Prix will take place June 1-3 next season, making it the next event immediately after the Indianapolis 500 and before the Texas Motor Speedway double-header, and is a welcome return for the sport to "Motor City".

“Chevy has come to the plate and said this is exactly what we need to deliver to show our product," said IndyCar CEO Randy Bernard. "To have them step up to the plate at Belle Isle is just one more very positive move for Chevy and IndyCar. If you're going to showcase your relevance, there's not a better city that the Motor City."

"This city is a natural for racing," said Mark Reuss, president of GM North America. "It put the world on wheels and the roar of engines is something that simply belongs here.

"Chevrolet has a long, storied history in Indy car racing," continued Reuss. "This year we celebrated the shared centennial of Chevrolet and the Indianapolis 500. We're excited to see that history continue with the help of Penske Corporation and IndyCar bringing back open-wheel racing to Detroit in 2012."

The previous two IRL events that were run here attracted more than 200,000 fans between them and contributed an estimated $100m to the local economy, in an area particularly badly hit by the economic downturn in recent times. Tony Kanaan won the 2007 race and Justin Wilson was the final winner in 2008.

Previous CART winners at Belle Isle include Bobby Rahal in 1992, Paul Tracy in 1994, Michael Andretti in 1994, Greg Moore in 1997, Alex Zanardi in 1998, Dario Franchitti in 1999 and Helio Castroneves in 2000/1.



Related Pictures

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The last IRL event run at Detroit`s Belle Isle Raceway in 2008. [Picture credit: IndyCar Media]
The last IRL event run at Detroit`s Belle Isle Raceway in 2008. [Picture credit: IndyCar Media]
The last IRL event run at Detroit`s Belle Isle Raceway in 2008. [Picture credit: IndyCar Media]
The last IRL event run at Detroit`s Belle Isle Raceway in 2008. [Picture credit: IndyCar Media]
Chevrolet sweeps the podium with winner Mike Conway (center), driver of the #20 Fuzzy`s Ultra Premium Vodka / Ed Carpenter Racing Chevrolet IndyCar V6, celebrating his victory Sunday, July 20, 2014 during the second of two IndyCar Series races through the streets of Exhibition Place, in Toronto, Canada. Tony Kanaan (left), driver of the #10 Target Chip Ganassi Racing Chevrolet celebrates his second-place finish. Will Power, driver of the #12 Verizon Team Penske Chevrolet celebrates his third-place finish. (Photo by Phillip Abbott/LAT for Chevy Racing)
Mike Conway, driver of the #20 Fuzzy`s Ultra Premium Vodka / Ed Carpenter Racing Chevrolet IndyCar V6, celebrates his victory Sunday, July 20, 2014 during the second of two IndyCar Series races through the streets of Exhibition Place, in Toronto, Canada. (Photo by Phillip Abbott/LAT for Chevy Racing)
Mike Conway, driver of the #20 Fuzzy`s Ultra Premium Vodka / Ed Carpenter Racing Chevrolet IndyCar V6, takes the chequered flag while racing to victory Sunday, July 20, 2014 during the second of two IndyCar Series races through the streets of Exhibition Place, in Toronto, Canada. (Photo by Michael L. Levitt/LAT for Chevy Racing)
Mike Conway, driver of the #20 Fuzzy`s Ultra Premium Vodka / Ed Carpenter Racing Chevrolet IndyCar V6, races to victory Sunday, July 20, 2014 during the second of two IndyCar Series races through the streets of Exhibition Place, in Toronto, Canada. (Photo by Phillip Abbott/LAT for Chevy Racing)
Chevy Racing sweeps the podium with race winner Sebastien Bourdais (center), driver of the #11 Hydroxycut KVC Racing Technology Chevrolet IndyCar V6, celebrating his victory Sunday, July 20, 2014 during the first of two IndyCar Series races in Toronto, Canada. Second-place finisher Helio Castroneves (left), driver of the #3 PPV Automotive Refinish Team Penske Chevrolet, and third-place finisher Tony Kanaan, driver of the #10 Target Chip Ganassi Racing Chevrolet, join the celebration. (Photo by Phillip Abbott/LAT for Chevy Racing)
Sebastien Bourdais, driver of the #11 Hydroxycut KVC Racing Technology Chevrolet IndyCar V6, celebrates his victory Sunday, July 20, 2014 during the first of two IndyCar Series races through the streets of Exhibition Place, in Toronto, Canada. (Photo by Scott R. LePage/LAT for Chevy Racing)
Sebastien Bourdais, driver of the #11 Hydroxycut KVC Racing Technology Chevrolet IndyCar V6, takes the chequered flag, racing to victory Sunday, July 20, 2014 during the first of two IndyCar Series races through the streets of Exhibition Place, in Toronto, Canada. (Photo by Michael L. Levitt/LAT for Chevy Racing)
Sebastien Bourdais, driver of the #11 Hydroxycut KVC Racing Technology Chevrolet IndyCar V6, races to victory Sunday, July 20, 2014 during the first of two IndyCar Series races through the streets of Exhibition Place, in Toronto, Canada. (Photo by Michael L. Levitt/LAT for Chevy Racing)
Will Power, driver of the #12 Verizon Team Penske Chevrolet IndyCar V6, races to a fourteenth-place finish Saturday, July 13, 2014 at the Iowa Speedway in Newton, Iowa. Power lost the championship points lead to teammate Helio Castroneves, driver of the #3 Hitachi Team Penske Chevrolet IndyCar V6, who finished eighth. (Photo by Dan Streck/LAT for Chevy Racing)
Tony Kanaan, driver of the #10 TNT Energy Drink Ganassi Racing Chevrolet V6, races to a third-place finish Saturday, July 12, 2014 at the Iowa Speedway in Newton, Iowa. Helio Castroneves, driver of the #3 Verizon Team Penske Chevrolet V6, takes over the championship points lead with an eighth-place finish. (Photo by Phillip Abbott/LAT for Chevy Racing)
Scott Dixon, driver of the #9 Target Chip Ganassi Racing Chevrolet IndyCar V6, races teammate Tony Kanaan, driver of the #10 TNT Energy Drink Ganassi Racing Chevrolet V6, Saturday, July 12, 2014 at the Iowa Speedway in Newton, Iowa. Dixon won the pole and finished in fourth-place. Kanaan led for most of the race and finished third. (Photo by Phillip Abbott/LAT for Chevy Racing)
Helio Castroneves, driver of the #3 Verizon Team Penske Chevrolet V6, took over the championship points lead with an eighth-place finish Saturday, July 12, 2014 at the Iowa Speedway in Newton, Iowa. (Photo by Brett Moist/LAT for Chevy Racing)
Helio Castroneves, driver of the #3 Hitachi Team Penske Chevrolet IndyCar V6, qualifies third Friday, July 11, 2014 for Saturday`s race at the Iowa Speedway in Newton, Iowa.  (Photo by Brett Moist/LAT for Chevy Racing)
Ryan Briscoe (left), driver of the #8 NTT Data Chip Ganassi Racing Chevrolet IndyCar V6, talks with teammate Tony Kanaan, driver of the #10 TNT Energy Drink Ganassi Racing Chevrolet V6, during qualifying Friday, July 11, 2014 for Saturday`s race at the Iowa Speedway in Newton, Iowa. Briscoe qualified fourth, Kanaan second and teammate Scott Dixon, driver of the #9 Target Chip Ganassi Racing Chevrolet IndyCar V6 won the pole. (Photo by Phillip Abbott/LAT for Chevy Racing)

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