Detroit Grand Prix was at first a 2.5-mile circuit using the downtown streets around the Renaissance Center of Detroit, MI. It was used by Formula 1 from 1982 to 1988 and then by CART from 1989 to 1991. In 1992, the track was moved to the streets of Belle Isle Park, an island in the Detroit river approximately 2 miles east of downtown, and used by CART until 2001. In 1998, the 2.1 mile track was extended to 2.35 miles. The circuit was returned to service by the IRL in 2007.
2005 update was contributed by Guy Watney, Kansas City Region SCCA.
New: 1997-03-08 Last Updated: 2007-08-31
When Formula 1 arrived for the Detroit Grand Prix in 1982, the drivers were appalled. The track was narrow, bumpy and with no grip, the barriers were poorly positioned, escape roads too short, and tire barriers inadequate. The first practice session was delayed by almost 24 hours as emergency changes were made. After this fiasco, it is surprising that F1 ever returned, let alone for a further 6 years. Although things improved over these years, it was never a track that anyone could love and in 1988 Formula 1 departed. CART used the downtown circuit for 3 seasons before moving to the park course on Belle Isle. This was an attractive track, but inadequate facilities for modern racing (e.g. the paddock was on grass, which became a quagmire in the rain) led to their departure also.
The Belle Isle track map was:
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