IndyCar stands by Detroit Grand Prix start date for now

David Malsher-Lopez
IndyCar standing by Detroit GP start date for now
IndyCar standing by Detroit GP start date for now

IndyCar is currently standing by its new 2020 start date of 30 May at the Detroit Grand Prix, despite Michigan declaring a state of emergency due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Following IndyCar's decision to reschedule the GMR Grand Prix of Indianapolis for 4 July, and the 104th running of the Indianapolis 500 for 23 August, that left the seventh and eighth rounds of the original 2020 schedule - the Detroit GP double-header - as the new season-opener.

It would also be the second round of the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship, America's premier sportscar series, having postponed its Sebring and Mid-Ohio rounds.

Late last week, Detroit GP organisers put out a statement that read: "Detroit Grand Prix officials are continuing to work with local authorities while actively monitoring all information as it relates to the COVID-19 global pandemic.

"With mandated restrictions and guidelines affecting the schedule of many upcoming events, Grand Prix organisers are evaluating all options for the May 29-31 event weekend.

"The primary focus continues to be the health and well-being of the spectators, partners, volunteers, employees and event participants at the Detroit Grand Prix.

IndyCar standing by Detroit GP start date for now
IndyCar standing by Detroit GP start date for now

"Officials will update the status of the event as the situation continues to evolve."

A spokesperson for Penske Entertainment, which runs IndyCar and also the Detroit GP, confirmed to Autosport that this was still the case for now, while acknowledging that the situation is fluid.

"It is a constantly changing situation," he said.

"You saw the President of the United States extend the social distancing guidelines to 30 April.

"So we'll keep working toward the last weekend of May while also being conscious that things can change and very quickly."

Although Labor Day weekend might seem an obvious available slot for the event, as per the 2007 and '08 IndyCar races there, Belle Isle Park - the largest state-owned park in the U.S. - is a hugely popular venue on a holiday weekend, and IndyCar would likely face strong opposition were it to disrupt this.

Meanwhile, Virigina governor Ralph Northam has issued a stay-at-home order, along with a ban on groups larger than 10 people, through to at least 10 June.

That's a little more than two weeks before IndyCar is due to race at Richmond Raceway, while it almost certainly means NASCAR's resumption at Martinsville will be scrapped.

Current 2020 IndyCar calendar

30 May - Streets of Detroit Race 1
31 May - Streets of Detroit Race 2
6 June - Texas Motor Speedway
21 June - Road America
27 June - Richmond Raceway
4 July - Indianapolis Motor Speedway Road Course
12 July - Streets of Toronto
18 July - Iowa Speedway
9 August - Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course
23 August - Indianapolis 500 Mile Race
30 August - World Wide Technology Raceway at Gateway
13 September - Portland International Raceway
20 September - WeatherTech Raceway at Laguna Seca
TBD Expected Finale - Streets of St. Petersburg

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