2012 Chevrolet Detroit Belle Isle Grand Prix Preview 2012 Chevrolet Detroit Belle Isle Grand Prix Preview 2012 Chevrolet Detroit Belle Isle Grand Prix Preview

For the first time since 2008 thanks to the impact of the global financial crisis, and for the first time ever immediately following Indianapolis, the IndyCar series heads for Motor City and the Belle Isle Raceway in Detroit, Michigan.

The Circuit

Belle Isle Circuit Map

Date: 01-03 June 2012
Lap Length: 2.536 miles / 4.083km
IndyCar Lap Record: 1:12.2861, Scott Dixon (Dallara Honda) – 2008
Event Schedule: Free Practice Session 1 Fri 12:00-13:00
Free Practice Session 2 Fri 15:45-16:45
Free Practice Session 3 Sat 09:00-10:00
Qualifying Session Sat 11:45-13:00
Sunday Warm-Up Sun 10:45-11:15
Race (74 laps, 186 miles) Sun 15:30-18:00
Past IndyCar Winners: Justin Wilson (Newman/Haas/Lanigan Dallara Honda) 2008
Tony Kanaan (Andretti Green Racing Dallara Honda) 2007

Detroit has always been a difficult circuit to set a car up for. Extremely narrow, overtaking is not a frequent sight, although can be done. Notable passing opportunities can be had into Turn 1, a medium-speed right hander immediately followed by a left. The last corner leading into the start/finish line could also be considered as an opportunity to pass, however one would need to be right alongside the car in front to pull this off.

From a fan’s perspective, Belle Isle is not a popular circuit to try to navigate. Infamous for its muddy and poorly developed passages, the sheer lack of space to try and fit everything in makes many wonder why the series visits at all. But the scenery is picturesque, and many classic races have been held in years gone by.

Memorable Moments

On the series’ last visit to ‘Motor City’, Justin Wilson took what would become Newman Haas’ last open-wheel victory (for now) when Helio Castroneves was penalised and given a drive-through penalty for blocking Wilson’s overtaking attempt late in the race.

One that cannot be forgotten is the 1997 CART event. Greg Moore, starting the final lap in third position, took an immensely popular win, his second in succession, when Mauricio Gugelmin and Mark Blundell ahead of him both ran out of fuel on the final lap, the latter motoring to a halt in sight of the chequered flag.

Nonetheless, despite its lack of general popularity, Detroit does have a place on the IndyCar calendar, and fans are set for another showdown in the shadows of another amazing Indy 500 seven days earlier.

Matthew Lennon
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Richard Bailey

Founder & Chief Editor at MotorsportM8
Hasn't missed a Grand Prix since 1989. Has a soft spot for Minardi. Tattooed with 35+ Grand Prix circuits.