Less than a week after an enthralling Indianapolis 500, the IndyCar Series heads north to ‘Motor City’ for the first double-header of the season, the Chevrolet Indy Dual in Detroit at Belle Isle Park.

While the average speeds will plummet by almost 150mph around the tight and twisty street circuit layout, that doesn’t mean the on-track won’t be any less frenetic…

The Circuit


Detroit Belle Isle Circuit

Date: 31 May – 01 June 2014
Lap Length: 3.776km
Free Practice Session 1 Fri 11:20-12:05
Free Practice Session 2 Fri 15:20-16:05
Race 1 Qualifying Sat 08:35-09:35
Race 1 (70 laps) Sat 15:50-17:45
Race 2 Qualifying Sun 10:00-10:30
Race 2 (70 laps) Sun 15:50-18:00
2013 Winners Ed Carpenter
Simon Pagenaud

* All session times are quoted in Eastern Daylight Time (GMT -04:00 hrs)

Detroit’s Belle Isle Park street circuit is a notoriously bumpy track for which to set up a car. Multiple surface changes from asphalt to concrete only exacerbate the dilemma.

At least, with the return last year to the layout used from 1998-2001, which includes a much longer run to Turn 3 than in the years since, it opens up a new overtaking opportunity for cars to utilise along with the limited Push-To-Pass feature.

Detroit Talking Points

Many drivers who climbed from their cars at the end of the 98th running of the Indy 500 clearly looked exhausted, and many could have used a cold bottle of milk to cool off. Unfortunately for them, only one man that day was drinking milk, and that was Ryan Hunter-Reay in victory lane. But the exhaustion remained.

Less than a week later, the fire-proof suits will again be donned for not just one full-length race, but two, around the picturesque streets of Belle Isle Park, Detroit.

Positioned on the Detroit River merely a stone’s throw from Canada and deep in the heart of Motor City, Detroit’s Belle Isle couldn’t be more different from the Indianapolis Motor Speedway and the scene that dominated the Month of May.

The Chevrolet Indy Dual in Detroit will consist of two 70-lap marathons around the tight, twisty layout. Detroit has tried on multiple occasions to stay on the
calendar, but with CART opting to drop the race in 2001 and the Global Financial Crisis all but crippling the automobile industry in 2009, leading to another three-year hiatus, race promoters are once again pretty much starting from scratch.

To their credit, drainage problems and circuit navigation headaches among fans have been rectified, leading to a much more pleasant race experience and subsequently, stronger crowds. That being said, the lead-up to this weekend’s event didn’t come without dramas, after a burst water main triggered hasty track repairs between Turns 13 and 14 just a few days ago.

Last year was the first time a double-header had been run, and although the planned standing start for Race 1 didn’t eventuate, the field provided two first-class races for the appreciative crowd and worldwide television audiences.

Mike Conway returns to his seat at Ed Carpenter Racing and will be out to defend his Race 1 win from last year – ditto for Simon Pagenaud at Sam Schmidt for Race 2.

Although it certainly holds the potential to do so, Detroit has yet to provide a truly dull race, and the ultra-competitive series that is 2014 makes no promises of this to happen. After nearly losing control completely entering the pits at Indy, leading to a drive-through penalty for pit lane speeding, Will Power found himself finishing eleventh and losing the lead in the Drivers’ Championship standings to Hunter-Reay. A return to a familiar road course should spur the Aussie on to climb back to the top.

Don’t miss the Chevrolet Indy Dual at Detroit double-header this weekend.

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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.