SPECTATOR SEATING GUIDE: Chevrolet Detroit Belle Isle Grand Prix

IndyCar, IndyCar commentary, Spectator Seating Guides — By on May 30, 2014 10:06 pm
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TURN 4: GRANDSTAND 4

GENERAL ADMISSION SEATING
2014 pricing:
Two-day $65 for adults; Single-day $35 for adults
One child 12 and under admitted free with each adult GA ticket

First and foremost: kudos to the Chevrolet Detroit Belle Isle Grand Prix folks for offering a free admission option for kids. It’s awesome to see event organizers who get that the young ones are the next generation of race fans and that they need to be nurtured.

As for this grandstand: well, it’s a bit terrible. The frustrating part is that it’s for no good reason. It’s so close to the corner that it chokes the view of the entry and exit of turn 4, and there’s a good 50 feet behind it that would allow the entire structure to be moved back without making any sort of infrastructure impact otherwise. Unless you arrive so late that grandstand 5 is completely full, don’t waste your time heading here. The good news is that if you end up with no other choice then you do have a screen and some very basic concession stands to work with.

Also, FYI, spectators aren’t permitted to bring their own folding chairs onto the grounds, so while there’s a stretch between turns 3 and 4 that would make a decent and spacious GA spot with a view of a screen to boot, there’s no way to make it work unless you want to stand for the entire race. And there’s likely to be room here, so you shouldn’t need to.

View of turn 4 at the Chevrolet Detroit Belle Isle Grand Prix

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TURN 5: GRANDSTAND 5

GENERAL ADMISSION SEATING
2014 pricing:
Two-day $65 for adults; Single-day $35 for adults
One child 12 and under admitted free with each adult GA ticket

Again, this grandstand is good enough that I had to double-check that it was really GA. It doesn’t face a passing zone per se, but in addition to being able to see all of turn 5 from the entire stand you can also see the exit of turn 4 from sections D and E, and from the look of it I’d bet there’s a good amount of wall-slapping that goes on there that could create some decent drama. And after wandering around the no man’s land around grandstands 3 and 4, when I arrived here I felt a little bit as though I had arrived back at civilization. On top of a good-sized TV screen, there are better concessions and a large bank of port-o-potties close at hand. It will take you a while to get here, but once you do (and I suggest you do so early for the prime spots) you won’t have any need to venture very far away.

View of turn 5 at the Chevrolet Detroit Belle Isle Grand Prix

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TURN 8: AUTOTRADER.COM TRACKSIDE CLUB

RESERVED SEATING ONLY
2014 pricing:
Two-day: $800 per person
Single-day: $500 per person

The Chevrolet Detroit Belle Isle Grand Prix has a unique viewing option, the AutoTrader.com Trackside Club, which offers a lunch buffet and snacks, complimentary adult beverages for those over 21, closed-circuit video feeds, paddock passes, and an exclusive view of one of the most interesting spots on the track. The organizers tout this as a great entertainment opportunity for entrepreneurs and small business owners, and they’re absolutely right about that. Even if you have no one to entertain but you have some money to spare, this is an option you should consider.

This was the one spot on the track where it was difficult for me to get a good photo because access was heavily restricted. I can tell you with confidence, though, that the table seating up top would give you a respectable view of much of the turns 7-11 complex.

The AutoTrader.com Trackside Club at the Chevrolet Detroit Belle Isle Grand Prix

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THE VERDICT

Best “if I had all the money in the world and every ticket was available” option: In my rich girl dream world, I’d start each day in grandstand 2 high up in section D, then during the first yellow flag I’d run over the pedestrian bridge and use a VIP shuttle to high-tail it over to the AutoTrader.com Trackside Club and watch the rest of the action while enjoying bottomless bevvies and snacks.

Best “I need a reserved seat and have a bit of money” option: Cut out the Trackside Club option and just park it in grandstand 2, section D or F. Either spot is a winner.

Best “I’m on a serious budget” option: I’d go with a friend and get there early on both days to reserve two seats for ourselves at the top of section D in grandstand 5. You’ll need the second person with you to make sure your seat gets held during bathroom and concession breaks, but the extra work involved would absolutely be worth it for the bargain price of less than $35 per day this option provides.

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