Belle Isle Grand Prix construction just started eight weeks ahead of the race

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PHOTO BY TOM PERKINS
  • Photo by Tom Perkins
The southwest part of Belle Isle is a construction zone as set up for the June 2-4 Detroit Grand Prix is underway.

The race will be followed by an approximately two-week breakdown period, which means race organizer Roger Penske has a roughly 10-week construction project planned for a two-day race. As has been noted here and here, that's the longest construction timeline for any street race in the world, leaving some of Belle Isle's regular visitors increasingly frustrated.



While Penske has taken steps to reduce the timeline by a week or two, many feel it hasn't gone far enough. Races like those in St. Petersburg, Fla. and Long Beach have shortened construction time in response to resident complaints. The former, once a months-long project, now takes several weeks.

Race manager Michael Montri tells MT that the timeline is related to the course's length and extra safety measures, like cabling and fencing, that organizers put in place. However, other races, like Indy Toronto, take place in a complicated downtown setting and only require two days of road closures.



PHOTO BY TOM PERKINS
  • Photo by Tom Perkins
Construction in and around Penske's permanent concrete paddock

PHOTO BY TOM PERKINS
  • Photo by Tom Perkins
 
Stands that won't be used for around six weeks and appear to take a day or two to construct are already standing.

PHOTO BY TOM PERKINS
  • Photo by Tom Perkins
The smell of fuel hangs in the air.

PHOTO BY TOM PERKINS
  • Photo by Tom Perkins
Miles of fencing is ready to unfurl.

PHOTO BY TOM PERKINS
  • Photo by Tom Perkins
Trucks are on the paddock.

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