DETROIT BELLE ISLE GRAND PRIX POSTPONED FOR 2009
DETROIT, Mich. (December 19, 2008) - Officials for the Detroit Belle Isle Grand Prix announced today that the 2009 event will be postponed due to the difficult economic conditions prevalent in southeast Michigan and across the nation.
"The economic environment that our region, state and country faces, both today and in 2009, is difficult," said Roger Penske, Chairman of the Downtown Detroit Partnership. "It is unfortunate that we must postpone the 2009 Detroit Belle Isle Grand Prix as sponsorship opportunities and support has proven to be very challenging for the event in the near term."
The Detroit Belle Isle Grand Prix has brought tremendous benefit to Belle Isle Park and to the region since the event returned world-class auto racing back to the Motor City for the first time in more than six years in 2007. Both the 2007 and 2008 races established themselves as one of Detroit's most popular summertime events, featuring both the American Le Mans Series and the IndyCar Series.
Over $7 million in infrastructure improvements have been made to Belle Isle since the return of the Grand Prix, including the paving of roadways, repairing or replacing damaged lighting and drainage, landscaping, the renovation of the Belle Isle Casino and Scott Fountain and the installation of pedestrian bridges, children's playgrounds and irrigation systems on the island.
According to a joint study conducted this year by the event and the Detroit Metro Convention and Visitors Bureau (DMCVB), the Grand Prix generated over $55.2 million in economic impact for metropolitan Detroit in 2008 and another $12.8 million in direct spending throughout Detroit and its surrounding tri-county area.
This year's study by the DMCVB also revealed the Grand Prix helped attract thousands of visitors to the area as 28% of event attendees came to Detroit from outside the tri-county region and 52% of those visitors came from outside the state of Michigan.
"I want to thank all of the fans that have supported the 2007 and 2008 Detroit Belle Isle Grand Prix events," said Bud Denker, Detroit Belle Isle Grand Prix Event Chairman. "Over 100,000 people attended each of the past two Grand Prix races and we are hopeful we can extend the excitement of world-class racing on Belle Isle in the future. We also want to thank the City of Detroit, the Michigan Economic Development Corporation and the City of Windsor for their partnerships. The Grand Prix would not have been possible without the support of more than 50 corporations including Bridgestone/Firestone, Bosch, Comerica Bank, General Motors, Meijer, Caesars Windsor, Charter One Bank, Pepsi, MGM Grand Detroit and many others. Finally, the over 1,000 Grand Prix volunteers were the best ambassadors of any race in North America and we say thanks to them. If the economic conditions improve, we hope to be able to bring the event back to Detroit in the summer of 2010."
The Detroit Belle Isle Grand Prix is a 501(c)3, non-profit corporation and a subsidiary of the Downtown Detroit Partnership.
Further information on the future of the Detroit Belle Isle Grand Prix will be announced in 2009 and will be found at the event's official web site, www.detroitgp.com.