June 1, 2019
Bumpy roads and bumpy weather made this a pretty memorable outing to Belle Isle. Indy and IMSA action inside.
I’ve loved racing since I was a Rainbow Warriors-obsessed kid watching NASCAR races in the 90’s. Since then, Formula One has become my fix of choice, but I do love Indy, WEC, IMSA, and just about anything fast and four-wheeled. Somehow this was the first top tier race I’ve attended in 25+ years of fanhood, and even now, it was because my father-in-law is great and invited me along.
Detroit is one of my favorite places in the world, and the race around Belle Isle is something I’ve wanted to attend for a long time. It was so much better than expected. In addition to bringing the IndyCar action (Leigh Diffey voice), there’s a full IMSA feeder race and other GT and sports car action that makes for a full day of great racing. If I remember correctly our grandstand tickets came with a pit pass, and saying hi to Takuma Sato and having to jump out of the way of Juan Pablo Montoya’s golf cart were, maybe pathetically, sporting-event highlights for the ages.
We had awesome seats in the first grandstand at the end of the pit straight, a heavy breaking zone into a chicane that made for some awesome overtaking. For the races that were able to run, at least. Indy runs the Detroit GP as a double-header, pretty unique in motorsports, where they do a qualifying session and short race each day of a two day weekend.
What you see below is the IMSA race (dominated by JPM’s Acura prototype) and the Indy qualifying session — we were caught in an absolutely biblical storm right before the IndyCar race was set to go lights out. After weathering the storm for an hour or so under a tall tree (smart?), we threw in the towel, only to return home just as the incredibly eventful wet race began. Win some, lose some, but I’m thrilled I got to be there.
Here are some of my favorite captures from the Saturday racing action. First few shots are from my iPhone in the garages.