After a thrilling Indianapolis 500 last weekend, the 2015 Verizon IndyCar Series heads to the ‘Motor City’ for a double header the Chevrolet Indy Dual of Detoit.

The Circuit

Detroit Belle Isle Circuit

Detroit Belle Isle Circuit

2015 IndyCar Series Chevrolet Indy Dual of Detroit
Date 29-31 May 2015 Lap Length 2.36 mi / 3.80km
Free Practice Session 1 Fri 10:35-11:50 Qualifying (Race 1) Fri 15:40-16:55
Free Practice Session 2 Sat 08:55-09:25 Race 1 (70 laps) Sat 15:50-17:45
Qualifying (Race 2) Sun 11:25-11:55 Race 2 (70 laps) Sun 15:50-17:45

Session times quoted in Eastern Daylight Time (GMT – 04:00)

The Grand Prix of Detroit’s history dates back to 1982, when it was a Formula 1 event held on a temporary street circuit encompassing the Renaissance Center. With seventeen corners on its 4-kilometre layout, the circuit was incredibly twisty and slow, and the event was dropped after attempts to relocate the race to nearby Belle Isle fell through.

Formula 1’s departure was to the benefit of the CART series, which ran on a modified version of the Grand Prix circuit from 1989-1991, before being moved to the previously planned temporary street circuit at Belle Isle.

Despite revisions to increase the lap length from 2.1 miles to 2.346 miles, the track was criticised for its narrowness, access issues and a lack of support category paddock space – the event fell off the calendar after 2001.

After a five-year absence, Roger Penske spearheaded talks to revive the race on a double-billing with the American Le Mans Series, and the event returned in 2007 following significant works to improve spectator and paddock access.

With Detroit feeling the pinch of the global financial and automotive crises, the 2009 event was dropped and the Belle Isle event didn’t return until 2012.

Now running on its longer 2.346-mile layout, it is one of the bumpiest circuits on the calendar. With a mix of both asphalt and concrete sections, it is a tough challenge on the cars and punishing on tyres and brakes.

Chevrolet Indy Dual in Detroit

The bumpy and narrow Belle Isle circuit is tough on drivers and cars.

The Form Guide

The Belle Isle Park street circuit hosted two IndyCar races on the same weekend for the first time in 2013, and is this year’s only double-header event on the calendar. It was also the inaugural doubleheader weekend in Verizon IndyCar Series history. Mike Conway won race 1, driving an entry for Dale Coyne Racing in that event. Simon Pagenaud scored his maiden IndyCar victory in race 2.

Last year, Team Penske scored a clean sweep in the weekend’s doubleheader in Detroit, with Will Power winning on Saturday and Hélio Castroneves taking Sunday’s event, his third victory at the circuit.

After an entertaining 99th running of the Indianapolis 500, Team Penske driver Juan Pablo Montoya’s momentum is at an all-time high coming into this weekend’s double header in Detroit after winning his second Indy 500.

The Colombian sits on top of the Drivers Championship with 272 points and a 25-point advantage over Penske teammate and Indy 500 runner-up Will Power.

Power will be keen to reignite his championship aspirations after being pipped at the post last weekend at Indianapolis, but the Australian will have a number of rivals to contend with, having been outscored by Montoya at other street circuit races so far in 2015.

Chip Ganassi’s Scott Dixon will be another driver to look out for. The New Zealander sits third in the Drivers’ Championship standings, five points ahead of three-time Detroit winner Hélio Castroneves.

Graham Rahal could also make a long-awaited return to the winners’ circle. The American finished on the podium here last year, and is enjoying a red hot run of form that has seen him placed fifth in the points’ standings.

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Michael Terminello

Journalist at MotorsportM8