Photo: Brandon K. Carter/ASP, Inc.

Up to Speed: 2023 Detroit Grand Prix Preview

By Luis Torres, Staff Writer

For the first time since 1991, the Detroit Grand Prix will head back to the streets as they leave the popular Belle Isle Park and its iconic water fountain behind for the corporate dollar.

However, this does bring some unknowns for the INDYCAR field as its a new venue, creating a wild card factor and after a controversial Indianapolis 500, the madness will significantly pick up. Certainly, the fans are up for what people hope is a good show, no matter their surroundings at the 1.7-mile street course.

The last time the sport raced in Downtown Detroit was in 1991 when Emerson Fitttipaldi held off both runner-up Bobby Rahal and the fuel economy to get his 13th career win. Such race was back then, the third try in the Renaissance Center before moving to Belle Isle from 1992 onwards.

In the final race at the latter venue, Will Power picked up his only win of his championship campaign by climbing from 16th to lead 55 laps. A triumph where folks felt was vengeance after losing out in the first 2021 race due to mechanical issues after a late-race red flag involving Romain Grosjean was lifted.

Power has not win since then and looks to bounce back from a frustrating Indy 500.

Entering Detroit, morale is at an all-time high for Josef Newgarden as he’ll enter in Team Penske’s home grounds with momentum after finally winning the 107th Indy 500. Giving the organization its 19th 500 win and a boost in Newgarden’s aspirations of a third INDYCAR title.

After six rounds, Newgarden sits fourth in points, trailing championship leader Alex Palou by 37 points.

Only a matter of time how the 100-lap race will unfold and perhaps this time’s the charm that street racing in Detroit actually pans out, 32 years later.

By the Numbers

What: Chevrolet Detroit Grand Prix, NTT IndyCar Series Race No. 7 of 17

Where: Downtown Detroit – Detroit, Michigan (Opened: 1982, first INDYCAR event was 1989)

When: Sunday, June 4

TV/Radio: NBC 3:00 p.m. ET / INDYCAR Radio Network (SiriusXM Channels 85 & 160)

Track Size: 1.7-mile street course

Race Length: 100 laps, 170 miles

2022 Belle Isle Winner: Will Power – No. 12 Team Penske Chevrolet (Started 16th, 55 laps led)

Last Winner in Downtown Detroit: Emerson Fittipaldi – No. 5 Marlboro Team Penske Chevrolet (Started second, 22 laps led – June 16, 1991)

From the Driver’s Seat

Santino Ferrucci – No. 14 AJ Foyt Racing Chevrolet

“Jefferson is going to be very interesting. They still needed to rework it. They needed to rework the track again after they go through winter because the winters are really rough. But it was rather bumpy. It will be kind of interesting to see the lines.

“The straight is longer than the one at the GP. The GP, you do have a lot of passing at the end of that straight going into the hairpin or the first turn. I think, yes, it will provide for some great racing. I hope we have a great strategy race like we did on Belle Isle. I think that was our best street course race as far as entertainment goes. I’m hoping the new Detroit track lives up to that.”

Weekend Schedule (All Times Eastern)

Friday, June 2

  • NTT IndyCar Series Practice No. 1 (3:00 p.m. to 4:30 p.m. – Peacock)

Sunday, June 3

  • NTT IndyCar Series Practice No. 2 (9:05 a.m. to 10:05 a.m. – Peacock)
  • Indy NXT Race No. 1 (11:55 a.m. to 1:10 p.m. – Peacock)
  • NTT IndyCar Series Qualifying (1:00 p.m. to 2:50 p.m. – Peacock)

Sunday, June 4

  • NTT IndyCar Series Warmup (10:00 a.m. to 10:30 a.m. – Peacock)
  • Indy NXT Race No. 2 (12:40 p.m. to 1:55 p.m. – Peacock)
  • Chevrolet Detroit Grand Prix (3:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m. – NBC)

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From the Pacific Northwest, Luis is a University of Idaho graduate with a Bachelor's degree in Broadcasting and Digital Media and a three-time National Motorsports Press Association award winner in photography. Ever since watching the 2003 Daytona 500, being involved in auto racing is all he's ever dreamed of doing. Over the years, Luis has focused on writing, video and photography with ambitions of having his work recognized.