INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. – May 31, 2012 – KV Racing Technology returns to Detroit’s Belle Isle after a three year hiatus for the Chevrolet Detroit Belle Isle Grand Prix, June 1-3, on the 2.1-mile, 14-turn temporary street circuit.
Tony Kanaan, behind the wheel of the No. 11 GEICO | MOUSER ELECTRONICS – KV Racing Technology Chevrolet/Firestone is coming off an exciting third place finish in the Indianapolis 500. The 37-year-old Brazilian, in his 15th U. S. based open-wheel season and 11th in the IZOD IndyCar Series, will be making his fifth U. S. based series start in Detroit. He raced twice in both the CART and IndyCar series. He has qualified and finished in the top-eight every time with a best starting position of fourth and a win both in 2007 (placed third in 2008). In 2000, Kanaan suffered the worst accident of his career, breaking his arm in qualifying and missing the next four races. Kanaan, who has been the victim of some bad luck this year, including having his car shut down on the first lap at St. Petersburg, has earned two top-four finishes in the first five races this season placing fourth at Long Beach in addition to the third at Indy, and is now ninth in the championship race with 113 points.
“I am looking forward to being back on track at Belle Isle,” Kanaan said. “I have great memories from this place when I won here in 2007 and not so great ones from 2000. The track is challenging with its tight corners, but hopefully I can have another good result here on Sunday.”
Rubens Barrichello, piloting the No. 8 BMC | EMBRASE – KV Racing Technology Chevrolet/Firestone machine, is coming off a strong 11th place showing in his debut at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway which earned him Chase Rookie of the Year honors. Even more impressive was the fact that the 40-year-old Brazilian, who spent the last 19 years competing in Formula One, was contesting his first oval race. Despite his longevity in Formula One, 322 starts, the most of any driver, this will be his first start in Detroit (Formula One competed here 1982-1988). Barrichello opened his first IndyCar season with a 17th place finish on the streets of St. Petersburg, then put together three consecutive top-10 finishes (Barber, eighth; Long Beach, ninth; Brazil, 10th) before the Indy 500. He currently sits 11th in the championship standings with 102 points,
Commenting on racing in Detroit, Barrichello said, "I was in Detroit last week and I got to see the track then. The layout looks great and I can't wait to drive on Friday. I have also been watching the DVDs for the 2007 and 2008 races, which gave me some information about lines and overtaking possibilities. I am hoping the weather is good and I can learn the track fast so I can be flat out as soon as possible."
E. J. Viso, driving the No. 5 CITGO | PDVSA – KV Racing Technology Chevrolet/Firestone car, had a solid month of May, earning his best starting position, ninth, in five Indy 500 starts, however in the race his car developed a sever vibration forcing him to pit 12 times dropping him to 18th place. The 27-year-old Venezuelan will be making his second start on Belle Isle. In 2008, he qualified ninth and finished 24th. Viso opened the 2012 season with the best start in his five-year IndyCar career (third with KVRT) placing a team-high eighth at St. Petersburg. In round two, Barber Motorsports Park, he qualified seventh, but his car simply did not have the pace and he finished 21st. At Long Beach, he again qualified well, a team-high fifth, but due to a penalty to all Chevrolet and some Lotus teams started 15th. In the race, Viso had to overcome an incident and a penalty, but fought back to finish 12th. At Brazil, he was again back in the top-10 with a hard fought ninth place finish. Viso is 17th in the standings with 94 points.
“After some years of being away from Belle Isle, it is nice to see some of the changes and improvements that have been made around the race track,” Viso said. “I am very proud to know that Chevrolet is also responsible for putting this Grand Prix back together. I am excited to be driving this track, I consider it to be similar to some of the street races we had this year where our performance was pretty good.”