Chevrolet has signed a multiyear to become the primary sponsor of the auto race on Belle Isle next June 3, race organizers said in a statement this morning.
The race also will be broadcast live by ABC.
Terms of the deal between Chevy and Bloomfield Hills-based Penske Corp. and Indianapolis-based IndyCarwere not disclosed.
The race was last run, without a presenting sponsor, in 2008. It has been mothballed for the past three years because of the economy, said Bud Denker, senior vice president of Penske and the race’s event chairman.
On Sept. 20, the Detroit City Council approved an application to return the race to the island.
“This is the Motor City, and we’re proud to bring back the race,” Detroit businessman and team owner Roger Penske said today after announcing that his company would dedicate $6 million to improve the 2.1-mile race course on Belle Isle.
“This will be Detroit’s first big event of the summer and it’s a week after the Indy 500, when everyone’s eyes are on IndyCar racing,” Penske said.
General Motors Co. is committed to sponsor the race for three years, and Penske said improvements to the park should make for a semi-permanent road course.
There will be four races during the three-day event:
• The Chevrolet Indy Grand Prix presented by shopautoweek.com, a sibling operation of Crain’s Detroit Business. Chevy’s new twin-turbo, V-6 race engines will compete in the Izod IndyCar Series.
• The Chevrolet Detroit Sports Car Challenge. Chevrolet Daytona prototypes and Camaros will compete in the first Grand-AM Rolex Series race held on Belle Isle.
• The Cadillac V-Series Challenge at Belle Isle, where Cadillac CTS-Vs will compete in the second Pirelli World Challenge series race held on the island.
• The Firestone Indy Light Series race. This features the rising stars of open-wheel racing.
“Chevrolet has been instrumental in bringing motorsports back to Detroit,” Penske Corp. Chairman Roger Penske said in a statement. “We believe the Chevrolet Detroit Belle Isle Grand Prix 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.”
Penske brought auto racing back to Detroit in 2007 after a six-year absence. It was previously run on downtown streets.
IndyCar CEO Randy Bernard said the new Detroit event will replace the series’ stop at Milwaukee.
IndyCar is the sanctioning body for U.S. open-wheel auto racing.
To sign up for tickets and for event details, go to detroitgp.com.
By Bill Shea, Crain’s Detroit