While the roar of engines could be heard faintly on Woodward when cars made the circle on Belle Isle, it’s been three decades since the sound echoed between the skyscrapers of the city. This year, Grand Prix racing returns to the downtown streets June 2-4. Here’s what you need to know to enjoy Detroit’s Grand Prix weekend.
Lots of activities will be going on during the course of the weekend, but the cars are still the stars. Practice and qualifying races will fill the streets on Friday June 2, from 8:30am-8:30pm. Traditionally, Friday has been FREE Prix Day. This year’s version means that Grandstands 1 & 9 will be open to the public free of charge on Friday, courtesy of Comerica Bank. Seating in these two grandstands will be general admission available on a first-come basis. Other grandstand tickets range from $50-$75 on Friday. Meanwhile, single day rooftop admission is $25.
Saturday’s action features Trans Am Series, INDY NXT and IMSA Michelin Pilot Challenge races between 10:35am and 5:50pm. Reserved grandstand seating runs from $60-$130 on Saturday, rooftop admission is $65.
Sunday, is the biggest day for racing fans, and reserved seating is sold out. It starts with another Trans Am Series showdown at 11am, followed by a second INDY NXT race at 12:50pm. The wild, 100-lap Chevrolet INDYCAR Grand Prix race will dart through the streets from 3-6 pm. It is a 10-turn course along Jefferson Avenue, Bates Street, Atwater Street, St. Antoine, Franklin Street and Rivard Street. In all, the race totals 170 miles. For those watching at home, the Grand Prix will be broadcast live on NBC.
Even if you can’t get a ticket, or are not a racing fan, the weekend is chock full of things to do. A variety of DJs, local bands, and national acts will showcase their talent throughout the weekend, especially the hip-hop and electronic that the city is known for. Concerts will take place at Hart Plaza. Friday night features A-Trak from 6-7:15pm and Big Boi from 7:30-8:30pm. On Saturday, Z-Trip will take the stage at 5:30pm, followed by Steve Aoki from 7-8:30pm.
Campus Martius Park, which was recently voted the top public square by USA Today readers, will be hopping too. Guests will find food trucks, thrilling race viewing on the big screen, and a sandy urban beach. Nearby Cadillac Square will host the Small Business Straightaway from 9 am-6pm on both Saturday and Sunday. Visitors can shop local artisans and vendors including ArtLoft Midtown, Detroit Forever 313, Motor City Popcorn, Ponyride, and ZAB Cultural Collective, just to name a few.
The Michigan Lottery Truck and Wana Brands will also be bringing lots of giveaways, sweet treats and activations to the Woodward Esplanade near Campus Martius Park throughout the weekend. Additionally, Ford vehicle displays, live music and giveaways are among the elements at Ford’s tailgate at Capitol Park. Car enthusiasts will be able to experience some of the latest and greatest models from Ford including the Explorer, Wildtrak Bronco, Lightning F-150 and the Mustang Mach-E. The tailgate will be open Friday, and Saturday 9am-6 pm and Sunday 9 am-3pm.
Due to the location of the race, there are limited parking structures available, the closer you get to the riverfront. The following parking structures within the racing area are not open for paid public parking during the event weekend: Millender Garage, Center Garage, Port Atwater Garage, Beaubien Garage, and River East Garage. However, there are many surface lots and alternate parking structures located within the downtown Detroit area that will be available for event parking. An excellent resource is to download the Park Detroit app. An even better idea will be to take advantage of parking in Foxtown, the District Detroit and even Midtown. Then use the Q-Line and PeopleMover to get closer to the action.
For complete details on the race and what you need to know to enjoy Detroit’s Grand Prix weekend, visit detroitgp.com or download the official app. No matter where in Downtown Detroit you choose to be June 2-4, there will be an abundance of good food, refreshing drinks, lively conversation, and a roar returning to the Motor City.