The wild world of Red Bull Global Rallycross (GRC) will not return to the Motor City—not in 2016, anyway.
The hybrid rally/road racing series rocked and rolled its way around Belle Isle in July, attracting a small but enthusiastic crowd of younger race fans.
But Red Bull GRC released its 2016 schedule today with no sign of Detroit. A blank date on August 28 is still to be announced.
“We had a great time in Detroit and on the island in 2015,” Red Bull GRC Chief Strategy Officer Colby Rodriguez told the Free Press on Friday. “It’s an important market to us in our long-term vision. We are not writing off Belle Isle or a return to Detroit in the future. We’d just like to step back and, when and if we return to Detroit, put on the best possible product.”
Rodriguez admitted that the Red Bull track layout on Belle Isle, which used a section of the Chevrolet Detroit Belle Isle Grand Prix circuit, was not ideal.
“We’d like to see our cars be able to stretch it out a bit more,” Rodriguez said. “Ideally, I’d like to see the races ripping through some abandoned warehouse district.”
Ron Olson, chief of parks and recreation for the Department of Natural Resources (DNR), which regulates Belle Isle, said he was not surprised that the race was not coming back to Detroit.
“They had not made a request to us this time,” Olson said. “Since they didn’t submit a request, and there has been no exchange between us, I’m not surprised.”
Olson admitted that the DNR “did have concerns last year about the event.
“The heavy use, at the time, by the public on the island and the staging of the race—it was unlikely it would occur again this year,” he added.
Featuring off-road racing champions such as Ken Block, Tanner Foust and Patrik Sandell Red Bull GRC is an action-packed format of six-lap heats and 10-lap finals.
Road-racing stars such as former Formula One/NASCAR drivers Scott Speed and Nelson Piquet Jr. also joined in pitching the 600-horsepower Ford Fiesta, VW Beetle and Subaru race cars around the part-asphalt, part-dirt tracks, jumping 70-foot ramps along the way.
Top race teams such as Andretti Rallycross, Chip Ganassi Racing and Block’s Hoonigan Racing compete in Red Bull GRC.
The series has confirmed stops in Phoenix, Dallas, Daytona Beach, Washington D.C., Seattle and Los Angeles in 2016.
Red Bull GRC was to have raced in Detroit in 2014 – the track thought to be in one of the outdoor parking lots near the Renaissance Center—but canceled at the last minute.