The Detroit Grand Prix appears to be returning to the schedule thanks to Roger Penske. Penske is going to be holding a press conference today along with Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick. AutoWeek is reporting that the race will return to Belle Isle, which last hosted a race in 2001. That was a CART race. This will be an IRL race. Plus ALMS. By including ALMS, there will be more corporate sponsorship opportunities for the race and hopefully more funding available to make it work.

Detroit first had a Grand Prix in 1982. That was a Formula 1 race that continued until 1988 when CART took over. Belle Isle replaced that original Renaissance Center street course in 1992, but slipped off the schedule in 2001. Belle Isle itself is a park complex that has fallen into a certain state of disrepair and it is hoped the new interest will allow the park to be refurbished to not only better accommodate the racers, but to service Detroit residents better.

Although a City Council vote scheduled for tomorrow still stands in the way of final approval, several local authorities will be on hand for the news conference today, lending credence to the notion that the race will get the go-ahead. Penske had been instrumental in securing the Super Bowl for Detroit in the past, but knows that an annual event that keeps people coming back year after year is vital to the ongoing success of an urban renewal project.

[Source: AutoWeek]