Track repairs begin on Detroit Belle Isle Grand Prix course

UPDATE Repair work began today on the road surface at Belle Isle Park in preparation for next year’s Chevrolet Detroit Belle Isle Grand Prix, which will be hosted May 31-June 2, 2013.

After a very successful return of world-class auto racing to the Motor City earlier this summer – the first Grand Prix run on Belle Isle since 2008 – there were issues with the track surface that arose in the second half of the IZOD IndyCar Series race. Track workers repaired the trouble spots and the race was successfully completed but event officials pledged that repairs would be made this fall and that work began in earnest on Monday.

After undergoing a process that included an engineering evaluation of the track, workers will be busy at Belle Isle over the next several weeks preparing the track for future races on the island. Workers will be removing old, deteriorated concrete areas of the racing surface, evaluating and repairing storm drainage systems and installing new reinforced concrete areas on the 14-turn, 2.1-mile track. In all, approximately 80,000 square feet of concrete and 3,000 square feet of asphalt will be installed on the track surface to ensure that the Raceway at Belle Isle will continue to be a first-class racing facility for years to come.

“As we said on race weekend when we experienced the issues with the track, we are completely dedicated to the future of this event and we would make the necessary repairs to the surface," said Bud Denker, Event Chairman of the Chevrolet Detroit Belle Isle Grand Prix. “Today begins the process of track repair that we expect to take eight to ten weeks to complete. We will be using private funds for these repairs and ultimately this will result in better roads for not only the teams and drivers during race weekend but also for all of the visitors to Belle Isle during the rest of the year."

Work will be done on Turns 5,6,7,8,9,10,11 and 12 of the track and approximately 25 workers from two separate companies – including the Detroit-based Pollard Concrete Services – will coordinate and execute the repairs.

09/10/12 Work began this morning on reconstructing the Detroit Belle Isle Grand Prix track that literally fell apart at the seams during the June 3 race on the island.

The race was halted while repairs were made, allowing for the finish of the IndyCar event, won by Scott Dixon.

Grand Prix event chairman Bud Denker, who was supervising the start of reconstruction at the track, said he had spoken with Roger Penske, who has championed the return of racing to Detroit, about the cost of repairs.

According to Denker, “Roger said, ‘Get it done. We haven’t got time to mess around.’"

The cost of repairs is estimated at $1 million and will be paid by the Penske Corp. and private backers of the event. Next year's Grand Prix weekend is May 31-June 2.

Reconstruction work mainly will be concentrated on turns 5-12, which were the problem areas in this year’s race.

About 82,000 square feet of concrete will be poured during the work, which is expected to take eight to 10 weeks.

Promoters of next year’s race are hoping to run a doubleheader IndyCar event – the first race taking place on Saturday, with another Sunday. The concept is being explored by Izod IndyCar officials. Detroit Free Press

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