Detroit Grand Prix

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For the Indycar race, see Detroit Belle Isle Grand Prix.
Detroit Grand Prix
Detroit street circuit
Downtown Detroit Street Circuit.svg
Race information
Number of times held 7
First held 1982
Last held 1988
Most wins (drivers) Brazil Ayrton Senna (3)
Most wins (constructors) United Kingdom Lotus (2)
United Kingdom McLaren (2)
Circuit length 4.023 km (2.50 mi)
Race length 253.449 km (157.5 mi)
Laps 63
Last race (1988)
Pole position
Podium
Fastest lap

The title of Detroit Grand Prix was applied to the Formula One races held at the Detroit street circuit in Detroit, Michigan, United States of America from 1982 through 1988.

History[edit]

In 1982, the U.S. became the first and only country to host three World Championship Grands Prix in one season. In addition to the United States Grand Prix West in Long Beach and the Las Vegas races, the new event was held in Detroit, Michigan on another street course encompassing the Renaissance Center, current headquarters of General Motors.

The original circuit had seventeen corners in 2.493 miles, including two very tricky hairpins and a tunnel that enclosed a gentle right-hand bend next to the river, and proved to be even slower than Monaco. The rough, demanding course even included a railroad track crossing. 1983 saw one of the hairpins being bypassed as well as the final ever win for the Cosworth V8 engine that had been introduced to Formula One in 1967, and in 1986, Ayrton Senna overcame a tire puncture to win his first of five American races in six years.

Detroit got off to a bad start in 1982 due to organization problems. Practice planned for Thursday was cancelled, and the first qualifying session on Friday had to be postponed. There was time for only a one hour practice session on Friday, and so qualifying would take place on Saturday in two one-hour sessions, four hours apart. Saturday was cold and overcast with a very real threat of rain, and nearly all the drivers scrambled to get a time in on the dry track while they could, with lots of spins and trips down the escape roads of the unfamiliar circuit. The afternoon session was wet throughout, as expected, and the times from the morning session did indeed determine the grid.

Detroit was removed from the Formula One schedule after 1988 after F1's governing body FISA declared the temporary pit area wasn't up to the required standard. The 1988 race was a very hot race, and the circuit broke up very badly. Such track problems often occurred, but the track disintegration was worse that year due to the intense heat and humidity. The race had always been the hardest race of the year, terribly difficult on the car and driver- but now, the race had worn out its welcome and it had become downright unpleasant. As a result, the drivers after the Grand Prix that year became outspoken with their dislike of the event. For the 1989 season, it was originally planned to move the F1 Grand Prix to a new circuit at Belle Isle. However, an agreement could not be established, and the Grand Prix moved to Phoenix for 1989-1991. Upon the departure of F1, the Detroit race was replaced by the CART-sanctioned Detroit Indy Grand Prix which in 1992 moved to the Belle Isle circuit originally proposed for F1.

Winners[edit]

Year Driver Constructor Report
1988 Brazil Ayrton Senna McLaren-Honda Report
1987 Brazil Ayrton Senna Lotus-Honda Report
1986 Brazil Ayrton Senna Lotus-Renault Report
1985 Finland Keke Rosberg Williams-Honda Report
1984 Brazil Nelson Piquet Brabham-BMW Report
1983 Italy Michele Alboreto Tyrrell-Ford Report
1982 United Kingdom John Watson McLaren-Ford Report

Lap Records[edit]

See also[edit]