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IndyCar - Track Improvement Efforts Offer More Passing Opportunities At Belle Isle

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Detroit, Oct. 10, 2012: Not only are sections of the Raceway at Belle Isle being repaired, but the circuit for the 2013 Chevrolet Detroit Belle Isle Grand Prix is being modified to enhance the competition, event organizers said today.

The course will be extended one-quarter mile entering the right-hand Turn 3 to 2.346 miles, which was the track length utilized from 1997-2001.

Team Chevy IZOD IndyCar Series drivers visited the venue as construction workers continued replacing sections of concrete on the breezy autumn day.

"It will be a more suitable racetrack for us with more passing opportunities," said Sebastien Bourdais, who competed for Dragon Racing this past season. "It's all good news. (Event chairman) Bud Denker is planning quite a few more things to improve passing, which is a sign of commitment. What I had to say as a suggestion he already had thought of."

The Chevrolet Detroit Belle Isle Grand Prix on June 1-2 will be the first of three doubleheaders during the 2013 season. Both races will be broadcast on ABC.

Indy car racing returned to Belle Isle in June after a three-year absence, with Scott Dixon of Target Chip Ganassi Racing winning the race that was red-flagged to repair two sections of the circuit. Sixty of the scheduled 90 laps were completed.

After an engineering evaluation of the circuit, workers began removing deteriorated concrete areas of the racing surface, evaluating and repairing storm drainage systems and installing reinforced concrete areas. About 80,000 square feet of concrete and 3,000 square feet of asphalt will be installed.

"It's a big effort from Bud and everyone," Bourdais said. "They have gone the extra mile when all they had to do was patch some areas."

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The excursion to the island park was among the stops for Team Chevy drivers Oct. 8-9. The Astor Cup and the Andretti Autosport car of IZOD IndyCar Series champion Ryan Hunter-Reay accompanied drivers to visits at Ilmor Engineering, the GM Heritage Center and Pratt-Miller.

"I enjoyed being able to thank all who worked so hard to help make this championship a reality," Hunter-Reay said.