- Photo from The Detroit News

Detroit Wants To Bring Indycar Back To Downtown; Proposed Layout Panned

They still have until 2023 to revise things and nip and tuck

Belle Isle Park, which hosts the Detroit IndyCar Grand Prix, may not be playing host to the series in 2023.

That's because, according to The Detroit News, a new proposal by its organizers wants to bring IndyCar closer to the people by going back to downtown Detroit as soon as 2023, with potentially half the race viewable free of charge.

Besides the above statement, GP chairman Bud Denker said that part of the reason for the move rests on Belle Isle itself: "Operating on Belle Isle in a park setting presents physical and also presents some community barriers." Of course, racing downtown will have its fair share of logistical nightmares to untangle, but Denker reckons "we can hold an exciting event in an urban area," adding that "We have to add to our Detroit businesses, our minority businesses, in helping them better with this event."

"Importantly, we must make the event inclusive, inclusive to our citizens, inclusive to our communities."

Detroit's mayor Mike Duggan agrees, saying that racing downtown "shows off the city in a way that the shots from Belle Isle never did." Even more encouragingly, Sandra Novacek of the Belle Isle Concern, an activist group that has frowned upon the park hosting a motor race, said the proposal meant "good news," even if she is still apprehensive.

The layout, on the other hand, isn't getting as rosy a reception.

The current draft, subject to change.

The current draft, subject to change.

This layout is actually a truncated version of one that Formula One had used back in the '80s, which was already poorly received by the likes of Ayrton Senna, Alain Prost and Nelson Piquet. And it's not hard to see why: hot and humid, the track itself was falling apart all race long, taking a heavy toll on cars that were much less robustly built relative to modern standards.

But at least it had fairly interesting corners.

The proposed new layout is in red.

The proposed new layout is in red.

Overlaid on the old one (black line), the new layout (red line) looks even more uninspired, with only a chicane breaking up the monotony of 90-degree turns. One can imagine the reactions, then, when Will Buxton shared his take on Twitter.

And if you think it's just a bunch of prissy overreactions, Reddit, whose motor racing-oriented subs are far more level-headed in general, don't really like it either. Between r/INDYCAR and r/RaceTrackDesigns, there's a lot of groaning to go around. A fan has gone as far as trying out designing a new layout.

Of course, there's still time to redraft a new layout that can provide good racing without looking like it's made out of masonry bricks, so the organizers better pay attention to the reception of this design if they want to make a compelling case for downtown IndyCar.

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Comments (2)

  • I used to drive I-75 to The Lodge to Cass Ave at 110mph just to get between bars before last call. That would be a GREAT track

      3 days ago
  • Was that course designed on an etch e sketch?

      3 days ago