DETROIT (WJBK) - Think spring! Now think late spring when open-wheel racing is back in Detroit, bringing more than $50 million to the city.
It's hard to believe in this weather, but June and the Detroit Grand Prix is seven weeks away. Construction started on Monday and Merrill Cain with the Chevrolet Detroit Grand Prix says it's a lot of hard work to turn Belle Isle into a world class race track
"We're 46 days away from the Chevrolet Detroit Grand Prix Presented by Leer. we're so excited to be back on Belle Isle June 1st, 2nd, and 3rd. The process really begins today," Cain said.
The schedule on construction was pushed back a week to minimize the amount of time on the island. Cain says they've scaled back their presence on the island for the past three years.
"We listened to the people who use the park on a regular basis and they were very clear with us that they'd like to see a little less time on the island for our event,” he said. “We've done our research and worked as hard as we could to tighten that time frame down.
“It's about a week less than it has been in the past. We've actually cut almost a month out of the process since 2015 - 27 days we've taken out of the process. Our guys are working around the clock to make sure we're leaving the island open-ended for everyone who uses it.”
Additionally, there are a number of other enhancements this year as well.
"We've moved one of our grandstands, grandstand three which is (now) at the end of turn 3 - one of the fastest parts of the race course - and where there's a lot of passing going on,” he said. “We've moved that from the right side of the track to the left side of the track to give fans a better view of the passing zones there.
“We're moving our victory circle where the winners of each race - there's even races during the course of the weekend - they celebrate in the victory circle, they get up and spray champagne and all that. the backdrop is going to be Scott Fountain this year."
Cain says island access will be the same for people who want to visit.
According to an independent study, the annual race brings more than $58 million in spending at hotels, restaurants, and bars to the area.