FINAL COUNTS REVEAL A SUCCESSFUL 2008 DETROIT BELLE ISLE GRAND PRIX DETROIT, Mich. (September 5, 2008) -- The echoes of the engines may have disappeared along the Detroit River, but the good feelings and positive memories of a very successful...
FINAL COUNTS REVEAL A SUCCESSFUL 2008 DETROIT BELLE ISLE GRAND PRIX
DETROIT, Mich. (September 5, 2008) -- The echoes of the engines may have disappeared along the Detroit River, but the good feelings and positive memories of a very successful 2008 Detroit Belle Isle Grand Prix will endure following last weekend's holiday weekend celebration.
After three days of world-class racing, entertainment and excitement at The Raceway at Belle Isle Park street circuit, August 29-31, the final figures reveal another spectacular Labor Day weekend event in downtown Detroit.
For the second consecutive summer more than 100,000 people attended the Detroit Belle Isle Grand Prix over the course of the weekend. In addition to the impressive attendance numbers in a difficult economic climate in Michigan, the Grand Prix also enjoyed unprecedented corporate support. A total of 69 corporate partners participated in the event either as sponsors or chalet clients, up from 59 in 2007. The occupancy of the luxury chalets was also up overall with 40 chalets in use throughout the weekend compared to 36 in 2007.
There were many more participants in the Grand Prix itself as well this year. A total of three racing series competed on Belle Isle -- the IndyCar Series, the American Le Mans Series (ALMS) and, new for 2008, the SCCA SPEED World Challenge GT Championship. With more teams racing in both the IndyCar Series and ALMS, along with the new competitors in SPEED World Challenge, the number of teams racing at the Grand Prix rose from 43 in 2007 to 76 this year.
The helpful volunteer work force at the Grand Prix was also larger in 2008. After nearly 900 people volunteered at last year's races, more than 1,100 dedicated workers devoted their time to help stage another first-class event at Belle Isle last weekend.
"It was a terrific weekend for the fans, our Grand Prix partners, the volunteers and the competitors themselves on Belle Isle," said Bud Denker, Event Chairman of the Detroit Belle Isle Grand Prix. "We enjoyed three great days of racing and awesome entertainment with the real winners being Belle Isle, Detroit and Windsor. The Grand Prix provided stunning views of Belle Isle, our waterfronts and our cities, with millions of people around the world seeing our region in its splendor on television. We're pleased that we improved upon several areas of focus for this year including fan conveniences and entertainment, transportation and on-track racing excitement. We're happy to report that we've already heard from many of our fans and sponsors that they can't wait to return to Belle Isle for the 2009 Grand Prix and we are already working to make the event even better next year."
The Detroit Belle Isle Grand Prix featured three full days of activity. Friday offered all fans the opportunity to see the racing action free of charge at Free Prix Day presented by Comerica Bank as the exotic sports cars of the American Le Mans Series, the sleek open-wheel machines of the IndyCar Series and the production-based race cars of the SPEED World Challenge GT Championship all hit the 2.1-mile track. IndyCar qualifying took place on Saturday along with the first race of the weekend -- the Detroit Sports Car Challenge presented by Bosch, featuring the cars of the American Le Mans Series.
Andretti Green Racing claimed its first overall ALMS victory with the Acura tandem of Franck Montagny and James Rossiter capturing the checkered flag. After Randy Pobst claimed the SPEED GT win early Sunday afternoon, the weekend came to a thrilling conclusion when IndyCar Series rookie Justin Wilson of Newman/Haas/Lanigan Racing held off Helio Castroneves of Team Penske in the Detroit Indy Grand Prix presented by Firestone. Great food, concerts, games and family entertainment were also featured all weekend long on Belle Isle in the Meijer Family Fun Zone. Event organizers are already in the planning stages for next year's Labor Day weekend celebration at the Detroit Belle Isle Grand Prix, September 4-6, 2009.
About the Detroit Belle Isle Grand Prix
The Detroit Belle Isle Grand Prix is organized and promoted by a subsidiary of the Downtown Detroit Partnership, whose chairman is Roger Penske. A special charitable organization has been established that enables all net proceeds raised by the Grand Prix to fund measures for the improvement and preservation of Belle Isle. Featuring the IndyCar Series and the American Le Mans Series -- along with the SCCA SPEED World Challenge GT Championship -- the Detroit Belle Isle Grand Prix was held Labor Day weekend, August 29-31, 2008. To learn more about the Detroit Belle Isle Grand Prix, please visit www.detroitgp.com.