Detroit GP almost a sellout
With only 25 days remaining before the roar on the shore returns to Belle Isle, Detroit Belle Isle Grand Prix officials capped Monday's media lunch with the news that grandstand seating for both Saturday and Sunday's events is rapidly approaching a sell-out (though there are not many grandstand seats).
Joining event officials, along with representatives from Audi and race sponsor Bosch, was two-time American Le Mans Series champion and Audi factory pilot Allan McNish. McNish, who drives a diesel-powered Audi R10 TDI with Dindo Capello, was extremely enthusiastic about the venue and the potential competitiveness of the track. He concurred with race officials that the design of the track and the attention to detail showed all the makings of a superb circuit, and McNish was especially impressed with the widening of the turns and the increased visibility for the drivers.
"Usually with temporary and street circuits you feel like you're in a tunnel because of the walls on either side of you," noted McNish. "At the Belle Isle course, the turns actually widen through the apex allowing for much greater sight lines and faster exit speeds. The track looks fantastic."
A quick tour of Belle Isle revealed some of the major renovations underway. More than 150,000 square feet of new concrete was used for improving the 2.125-mile circuit and making modifications for more exciting competition. And 460,000 square feet of concrete has been laid down for the paddock area and fan zones making sure the Grand Prix is a cleaner and more comfortable fan experience.
Of course, seeing the Audi R10 LMP1 parked on the shores of the Detroit River sparked much speculation and conversation about the American Le Mans Series' inaugural outing in the Motor capital. Citing the relevance of Series, the participants and the cars they manufacturer, one Grand Prix official predicted the Saturday American Le Mans Series race would be the most exciting race of the weekend. No doubt, Detroit fans will marvel at the spectacle of seeing four classes of thoroughbred race cars circling the Belle Isle course.
On an interesting note, tickets, ranging from $25 - $150 (premium 3 day reserved grandstand seating with paddock pass), are priced 15 percent less than they were 10 years ago. And each reserved grandstand ticket holder will receive special commemorative tickets celebrating the return of auto racing to Detroit.
The event will be held Labor Day weekend, August 31 - September 2, 2007. Featuring the cars of the American Le Mans Series and the IndyCar Series, the weekend is collectively referred to as the Detroit Belle Isle Grand Prix. Saturday's American Le Mans Series race is the Detroit Sports Car Challenge presented by Bosch.
The Detroit Belle Isle Grand Prix is organized and promoted by a subsidiary of the Downtown Detroit Partnership, whose Chairman is Roger Penske. Penske also is a team owner in the Series as his Penske Motorsports Porsche RS Spyders have taken the last five overall victories in the Series. All net proceeds raised by the Grand Prix will fund measures to preserve and improve Belle Isle.
Tickets for the Detroit Belle Isle Grand Prix are on sale through detroitgp.com, ticketmaster.com or by calling 1-866-464-PRIX or Ticketmaster at 248-645-6666.