Belle Isle in Detroit will be hosting not one, but two race weekends in 2021.
After losing its race weekend in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic that affected so much of the racing schedule this past summer, Belle Isle race organizers announced on Thursday that the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship will return to Belle Isle on Friday-Saturday, June 4-5.
The following weekend, the NTT IndyCar Series will contest its annual doubleheader race weekend on Belle Isle with the Dual in Detroit on Saturday-Sunday, June 12-13. Both NTT IndyCar Series races will be televised live on NBC.
The back-to-back race weekends will take a bit of the sting out of Michigan losing its June NASCAR race in 2021. Prior to 2020, NASCAR had raced in June at Michigan International Speedway in Brooklyn, Michigan (about 90 minutes from downtown Detroit) every year since 1969. The 2o20 June race was postponed due to the coronavirus and that race became part of a two-day NASCAR Cup doubleheader weekend this past August.
It will mark the first time in the history of the Detroit Grand Prix that the event will be hosted over the course of two weekends.
Event organizers say that the Belle Isle events will not lengthen the time on the island for the racing operation. Organizers plan to keep to its schedule of 60 days from set up to take down of the race venue.
“It was unfortunate that we were not able to host the Detroit Grand Prix in 2020 due to COVID-19, but we are so excited to welcome fans back to Belle Isle in 2021 with not one, but two great weekends of racing and family entertainment,” said Grand Prix chairman Bud Denker. “The first weekend in June will be a sports car celebration with the exotic cars of IMSA. We will continue the tradition of the Dual in Detroit IndyCar doubleheader the following weekend as we showcase Belle Isle, along with Detroit and Windsor, to a national audience through back-to-back days of network television coverage.
“While the schedule will expand for next year’s Grand Prix, it’s important to note that residents who visit Belle Isle Park frequently will have the same access as they have in the past and the event preparation time spent on Belle Isle will remain the same.”
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