The Chevrolet Belle Isle Detroit Grand Prix (as it is officially called) was held May 31-June 2, 2013.
It featured cars from the IZOD IndyCar Series, the GRAND-AM Rolex Sports Car Series and the Pirelli World Challenge Championship Series. The track is 2.3 miles long and is actually temporary. It takes months to set up the full track area including paddock, bleachers, vendor area, and more.
Thanks to a random giveaway at work, Chris scored 2 tickets for Saturday along with parking, shuttle, and paddock access.
After some initial confusion on where to go (either the lot location changed or the map we received was wrong…) we pulled into a fenced but grassy parking spot on the south end of the Riverwalk.
We walked a little ways up the riverfront to our shuttle, which would bus us directly to Belle Isle.
Once we arrived, we had our tickets scanned and got to keep them after.
First we checked out the vendors on hand:
I grabbed a sticker from Made In Detroit:
We headed towards the paddock area next, to have a look around.
There was a long line to check in, but it was moved along quickly. These tickets they did keep, so I was glad I snapped a photo earlier. We got a colored tyvek wristband for each checkpoint, so by the end of the day I looked like I was going to the weirdest rave ever.
This was my first time to any large race event, and certainly the first to the Grand Prix. I rented a monstrously huge lens that weighed 5 lbs and was grateful at that moment that I’d decided to keep the monopod I’d purchased last year.
I have shot on the track (yes, on the grassy area inside the track) for the WHRRI raceway in Waterford so I was super excited to walk around the paddock area of such a large setup.
Then we come around to the Mazda paddock, and stalk them for a while. For those new to the blog – we own a Mazda 6, a Mazda 3, and have a RX-7 disassembled in the garage as the current project car.
Lunchtime! We split a chicken schwarma which was deliciously saturated in garlic.
We then decided to head over to the bleachers and settle in for the first race. Sadly, despite it costing $10 for the souvenir book, it did not explain the actual goings on of the day.
That included the “fan walk” which was the ability to walk through the pit area!
Nonetheless – I was able to pick out some nice shots from the sidelines thanks to the lens I rented.
By the end of the first race I was getting toasty, even with sunscreen, so we decided to head out. I would like to see some kind of awning over the bleachers, since I’m not allowed to open a parasol (understandably given the tight quarters), in the future. I was grateful that the day still had a bit of cloud cover and cooler than average temps.
It was a lovely day and a great event, and one that everybody should check out.