The City of Detroit, Chevrolet, Penske Corporation, and INDYCAR have agreed to a four-year contract that returns racing to the Belle Isle Park 2.1-mile road course.
"Chevrolet has a long, storied history in Indy car racing," said Mark Reuss, president of GM North America.
"This year we celebrated the shared centennial of Chevrolet and the Indianapolis 500. We're excited to see that history continue with the help of Penske Corporation and INDYCAR, bringing back open-wheel racing to Detroit in 2012."
The Raceway at Belle Isle Park circuit plays host to the IZOD IndyCar Series' Chevrolet Grand Prix, the Grand-Am Rolex Sports Car Series' Daytona Prototypes and GT cars, a Cadillac V-Series Challenge featuring the Pirelli World Challenge cars, and the Firestone Indy Lights Series. The races take place the first weekend of June, making this the first Indy car race after the Indianapolis 500, a coveted spot on the schedule.
"Chevrolet has been instrumental in bringing motorsports back to Detroit," noted Roger Penske, chairman of Penske Corp. "We believe this race will be one of the most popular races in the IZOD IndyCar Series and will play a major role in continuing the renaissance of Detroit."
The IndyCar Series last raced on Detroit's Belle Isle circuit in 2007 and 2008. According to the Detroit Metro Convention and Visitors Bureau, those two events combined attracted more than 200,000 visitors and brought in more than $100 million to the metro Detroit economy.
While those two races featured a support event for the American Le Mans Series, the scheduled conflicts with Le Mans testing dates. The ALMS attempts to work its schedule around the 24 Hours of Le Mans but the series hopes to be back on the schedule at Belle Isle in 2013.
© 2011 Anne Proffit