Detroit Historical Museum hosts ‘Grand Prixview’ to celebrate 30th Detroit Grand Prix

Detroit Grand Prix officials and race car drivers on stage during the 'Grand Prixview' press conference at the Detroit Historical Museum. (Jerome Rzucidlo/AmericaJR)

DETROIT — The Grand Prixview at the Detroit Historical Museum celebrates the 30th Detroit Grand Prix’s exhibit at the museum focusing on the heritage of the event and motor-sport racing in the motor city.  The 30th year of the Detroit Grand Prix is an opportunity to tell the story of Detroit’s automotive history.  The exhibit offers a preview of what is to come May 31-June 2 at the Chevrolet Detroit Grand Prix presented by Lear on Belle Isle.

The Chairman of the Detroit Grand Prix, Bud Denker, says the water on the island hasn’t stopped us from preparing for the race.  “One hundred thousand people will walk through those gates that weekend.  We’re going to put on a great show for our state and our region.  There will be $50 million in spending over the weekend.  Our hotels and bars will be full.  One million dollars will go back to Belle Isle to make it a great place for our citizens.”

Graham Rahal will drive the No. 15 Honda in the NTT IndyCar Series at the Detroit Grand Prix. In 2017, he was the only driver to win both Chevy Dual races on one weekend. 

“In 2017, it was a dream weekend.  We were fast in the first session and we were fast in the second session.  Frankly we had luck on our side and it was a bruiser of a weekend.  Belle Isle is an awesome place to race.  Dad and I have a lot of pride to come here.”

Jordan Taylor, Wayne Taylor Racing IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship driver and five-time winner at the Detroit Grand Prix, says trusting your team and trusting your equipment is important.  “It is amazing to see the progression of Belle Isle.  Having racing for 30 years in Detroit is amazing.”

Johnny O’Connell, former Cadillac Racing driver with six career wins on Belle Isle, says “Back in the day, Detroit quickly became my favorite street circuit.  Racing with the background of the RenCen, it was a big event and you want to deliver.  There are great people setting up the cars and you want to win.”  Johnny started his professional racing career in 1987 in the Formula Atlantic Series; he won five races en route to the championship and was awarded the Rookie of the Year title.

Rick Mears, a four-time Indianapolis 500 winner and current Team Penske team advisor who raced for three years on the downtown Detroit street circuit, noted that “way back then to me it was a very simple thing to do on the streets of Detroit.  It was a great course.  There were tunnels and elevation changes on the streets.  We always looked forward to see the improvements in Detroit.” 

He added “The Indianapolis 500 and the Detroit Grand Prix is an important two weeks.  There is a lot of pressure in the next two weeks.  You have to stay focused and your team has to stay focused to get the job done.”

Terry Dolan, Director of Motorsports Marketing and Activation for Chevrolet, says “Belle Isle features world-class racing in our backyard.”  One of our cultural behaviors is giving back to the community.”  The key changes for 2019 are:

  • Paddock access, also known as the locker room for motorsports, for all ticketholders
  • New location for Grandstand 1 which will provide enhanced viewing for cars coming down the fast front stretch     
  • More access for fans as the Chevrolet Front stretch Bridge over the track will be open for everyone     
  • New general admission Grandstand 7 coming off the fastest part of the track on the back stretch     
  • On-track action and exciting activities and events are being planned for the celebration of the 30th Grand Prix in Detroit     
  • Double the Grandstand seating in turn 3

“The motor-sports technology finds its way back to our production cars.  It is also an opportunity to recruit engineers,” added Dolan.

Craig Renneker, VP of Product Engineering and Driveline for AAM, noted that as a sponsor of this event, “The market is changing and we continue to develop new products.  Our partnership is a community-focused based on three reasons: “The Grand Prix is Detroit-based and our company wants to support that. We love Belle Isle. We are always looking for good engineers and this helps us reach out for people to join AAM.”

Chris Son, VP Marketing and Communications at AAM, also noted that we are also celebrating our 25 years at AAM.

Merrill Cain, Public Relations Director of Chevrolet Detroit Grand Prix, and Elana Rugh, CEO of Detroit Historical Museum, announced that the annual summertime festival on Belle Isle will honor the 30th Detroit Grand Prix with a special Heritage Exhibit featured in the Meijer Fan Zone. 

It will be tied together with the Detroit Historical Museum exhibit which will run through June 30.  The admission to the Detroit Historical Museum is free.  So come on down and see the exhibit and we are looking forward to seeing the race fans on the island.

Tickets for the 2019 Chevrolet Detroit Grand Prix presented by Lear are on sale now and start at $45.  For more information, visit or call 866-464-7749 (PRIX).

Detroit Grand Prix INDYCAR on the outdoor plaza at the Detroit Historical Museum. (Jerome Rzucidlo/AmericaJR)

Johnny O’Connell and Jordan Taylor playing with R/C cars (Jerome Rzucidlo/AmericaJR)

Remote controlled cars on the outdoor plaza sponsored by AAM. (Jerome Rzucidlo/AmericaJR)

Poster commemorating the history of the Detroit Grand Prix (Jerome Rzucidlo/AmericaJR)

Slot car racing inside the Detroit Historical Museum (Gloria Rzucidlo/AmericaJR)

Detroit Grand Prix and Cadillac memorabilia are featured in the special exhibit. (Jerome Rzucidlo/AmericaJR)

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