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Chevrolet Detroit Grand Prix Allowed to Stay on Belle Isle

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Hunter Reay Detroit Grand Prix

Ryan Hunter-Reay races in a Chevrolet at the 2012 Detroit Grand Prix
Photo: Nic Redhead

The Chevrolet Detroit Grand Prix can stay on Belle Isle.

Race organizers agreed to pay more in fees and cut the amount of time it takes to set up and tear down the track. In return, the Michigan Department of Natural Resources will allow the race to stay on the island for three more years, with an option to extend the contract to five years.

Many residents of the Detroit River island have complained over the years that the race creates too much noise and harms the surrounding environment. However, the DNR decided that the race’s presence on the island ultimately brings more benefits than drawbacks. For example, race fees have helped fund a variety of improvements that wouldn’t have been possible otherwise.

Critics of the race weren’t pleased, saying the DNR was putting money above the interests of island residents and the environment.

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Detroit Grand Prix pace car Corvette

GM executive Mark Reuss poses with the Corvette Z06 used as the pace car in 2015’s Chevrolet Detroit Grand Prix

The race’s new contract won’t be cheap for its organizers. Their permit fee will rise from $200,000 to $325,000 a year. They also must pay a one-time fee of $125,000 to help put on local events at the race site throughout the rest of the year.

The race organizers also agreed to reduce the amount of time required for setup and teardown to 60 days instead of 84. Organizers say they got in and out in 62 days last year, so the new requirement shouldn’t be a stretch.

Belle Isle hosted the Detroit Grand Prix from 1992 to 2001. In 2012, the race returned permanently to the island under Chevrolet’s sponsorship.

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News Source: The Detroit News