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Renger van der Zande takes us around the 2023 race track in a Cadillac CT5-V Blackwing before the final Belle Isle show this weekend.
The Detroit Grand Prix is moving away from Belle Isle and into downtown Detroit in 2023. While some are going to miss the island-based race, the new circuit layout in Detroit is set up to make for some interesting and compelling racing. Most importantly, it’s racing that will take place in the heart of Detroit, which means a freight train of race cars traveling down East Jefferson before reaching some of the more congested parts of the track. To get the best perspective on the new circuit, we hopped in the passenger seat of a Cadillac CT5-V Blackwing piloted by racing pro Renger van der Zande.
The first takeaway: this is a short track. Even with traffic, and while obeying all posted traffic signs, the lap around the circuit went quickly. Van der Zande mentions that each lap should take him around a minute and ten seconds in his Cadillac DPI machine. While that might make it a long day for the drivers, it should make it exciting for the fans watching the race.
There’s going to be traffic. After the long straight on East Jefferson, there is a tight corner that takes you to the Detroit River front. This back section of the track will be considerably tighter than the ultra-wide front straight and will have, effectively, all of the track's major corners. This means cars mixing it up on the front straight will have to get in order before heading to the riverfront, or there is going to be some rubbing.
The pavement will also be a factor. Though race promoters are working with city officials to repave sections of the circuit, these are still public roads in Michigan. So the pavement could play a role in the setup of each car, tire wear, or suspension wear throughout the race.
Though, if you want to hear van der Zande’s thoughts yourself, click below.