Rahal, Fittipaldi and Lundgaard Head to Motor City for the Chevrolet Grand Prix of Detroit

Source: Team PR

Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing
Pre-Race Notes 
Chevrolet Detroit Grand Prix – Streets of Detroit
Round 7 of 17 in the 2024 NTT INDYCAR SERIES
DATE:     May 31 – June 2, 2024

PRACTICE BROADCAST:     Live on Peacock Premium on Friday from 3:00 – 4:15 p.m., Saturday from 9:10 –
10:10 a.m. and Sunday from 9:30 – 10:00 a.m. Also live on the INDYCAR Radio Network (IRN) and www.indycar.com (timing & scoring + live analysis). All times Eastern.
QUALIFYING BROADCAST:     Live on Peacock Premium, the IRN and www.indycar.com (timing & scoring + live analysis) from 12:15 – 1:45 p.m. ET Saturday.
RACE BROADCAST:     Live on USA Network on Sunday, June 2 from 12 – 3 p.m. ET. And also on Peacock, IRN and Sirius XM INDYCAR Nation 218 and SiriusXM NBC Sports Audio 85.
TRACK LAYOUT:     1.7-mile, 9-turn temporary street course
RACE LENGTH:     100 laps / 170 miles
2023 WINNER:     Alex Palou
2023 POLESITTER:     Alex Palou (95.734 mph)

RAHAL’S BEST START / FINISH:     1st in 2017 in Race 1 / 1st in Race 1 and Race 2 in 2017; will be his 20th race in Detroit
RAHAL’S HIGHEST SERIES START/FINISH:     5 poles – Pole at St. Pete (street) 2009, Kansas (oval) 2009, Detroit Race 1 (street) 2017, IMS (road) 2023 August, Portland (road) / 6 wins – 1st in St. Pete in 2008, Fontana & Mid-Ohio 2015, Texas 2016, Detroit Race 1 & Race 2 2017
FITTIPALDI’S BEST START / FINISH AT DETROIT:     Will be his first race here
FITTIPALDI’S BEST SERIES START / FINISH:     10th at Phoenix (2018) / 9th at Portland (2018)
LUNDGAARD’S BEST START/FINISH AT DETROIT:     9th / 14th – both in 2022; will be his third race in Detroit
LUNDGAARD’S BEST SERIES START / FINISH:     2 poles – IMS (road) May 2023, Toronto (street) 2023 / 1st at Toronto 2023
RLL’S BEST START / FINISH AT DETROIT:     1st – Graham Rahal (2017, Race 1) / 3 wins: Bobby Rahal (1992 inaugural Belle Isle event), Graham Rahal (2017, Race 1 & Race 2)

The 2024 Chevrolet Detroit Grand Prix will mark the NTT INDYCAR SERIES’ 14th visit to Detroit, and the 12th since 2008. The Motor City hosted Indy car racing from 1989-91 in Downtown Detroit. The race moved to Belle Isle Park from 1992-2001 and 2007-2008 and returned from 2012-2022. The 2022 event marked the 22nd year for Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing (RLL) to compete at the Raceway at Belle Isle Park. This will be the team’s second year to compete downtown and their 32nd race in Detroit overall. IMSA’s GTP class has been added to the event schedule so it will be a doubleheader weekend for RLL with Saturday’s race for BMW M Team RLL’s two-car program.
The team’s highest Indy car start of pole came in 2017 with Graham RahalBobby and Graham Rahal have earned a combined total of three wins for the team here. Bobby won the inaugural race on Belle Isle in 1992 and Graham is the only driver to have won both races on the same weekend, which he did in 2017. In total, the team has earned eight podiums (2nd – G. Rahal 2014, Jakes 2013 & Max Papis 2000), (3rd – G. Rahal 2015, Takuma Sato 2019) 12 top-five finishes and 24 top-10’s here (chart available). Prior to 2024, the team prepared a total of 48 entries for drivers such as Bobby Rahal (1992-1998), Mike Groff (1993-94), Raul Boesel (1995), Bryan Herta (1996-99), Max Papis (1999-2001), Kenny Brack (2000-01), Ryan Hunter-Reay (2007-08) Takuma Sato (2012, 2018-2019. ‘21), Graham Rahal (2013-2019, ’21-23), James Jakes (2013), Oriol Servia (2017), Santino Ferrucci (’21), Jack Harvey (’22-23) and Christian Lundgaard (’22-23).  The No. 15 iPacket entry for Graham Rahal, the No. 30 5-hour ENERGY Honda for Pietro Fittipaldi and the No. 45 Hy-Vee Honda for Christian Lundgaard will bring that total to 51 in 2024. 


The event will mark Graham Rahal’s 20th race in Detroit. His father, Bobby, won the inaugural race on Belle Isle in 1992 and Graham won the doubleheader there in 2017. The last two years, he retired from the race. He was 25th in 2023 after making contact with the wall on Lap 50 of 100 and in 2022, he bottomed out in Turn 2, lost traction and hit the wall on Lap 2. In 2021, he earned two fifth-place finishes. Rahal’s most successful INDYCAR race weekend came in Detroit in 2017.  In Dual 1 in 2017, Rahal earned his first pole since Kansas 2009 and led a dominating 55 of 70 laps en route to his fifth series victory and first ever from pole. He handily held the lead with the exception of pit cycles and built a gap of more than 13 seconds at one point before he ultimately won by a six-second margin over Scott Dixon. For Dual 2, Rahal set the second fastest time in his qualifying Group 2 to Sato to start third. In the race, he passed Hunter-Reay on Lap 8 and closed the gap to polesitter and leader Sato but could not pass. Sato pit one lap earlier than Rahal, who took the lead on Lap 23 before he made his first of two stops on Lap 24 and returned to the track behind Newgarden, who was on a three-stop strategy. Once Newgarden pit on Lap 29, Rahal took over the lead and steadily built his gap to second place to 16 seconds over Sato before his second and final stop on Lap 47. He then proceeded to build an 18-second gap over second place before he caught traffic. That reduced his lead to new second place runner Newgarden to 5.5 seconds before a red flag came out for Pigot, who experienced a smoky end. All race cars were stopped in pit lane for approx. 10 minutes while the track was cleared and an attempt to remove marbles was made. The race resumed with a two-lap shootout and Rahal utilized his 57 seconds of Push to Pass over Newgarden’s 36 to keep the lead on the restart before he was able to pull a slight gap before the checkered flag to become the first winner of both races in Detroit. In total, he led 41 of 70 laps. His other podiums in the race came in 2014 with second place in Dual 1 and third place in Dual 2 in 2015. Overall, he has two wins, pour podiums and one pole in 19 races here. After all three RLL cars earned top-11 starting-spots at the Sonsio Grand Prix at IMS prior to the Indy 500, he is optimistic of the team’s chance for success in Detroit.

  “Last year at Detroit was challenging for us. We have some work to do when we get there but our St. Pete and Long Beach packages were a lot closer this year so we’ve made some gains since Detroit last year. We tested in a very-hot Sebring after Detroit last year and found some good things there that improved our package the remainder of our season and into this year. We’re hoping for a much better race in Detroit this year and I think we can do that. It’s always great to get back on a street course after two weeks at Indy.”
This will mark Pietro’s first race in Detroit which is not surprising given the fact that he has only driven on four of the tracks on the schedule and it is only the second year for this downtown layout. He has watched video from last year’s race as well as onboard camera footage to accelerate his learning curve. He’s looking forward to getting back on track to get a good result after being collected in a multi-car crash on the opening lap of the Indy 500.

“A new track debuted last year, and I heard it provided new challenges. It’s very bumpy, so it’s very physical and there was overtaking. I’m looking forward to doing my first laps there and meeting everyone from 5-hour ENERGY. Their headquarters are near there so it’s going to be cool to see everyone. You have to transition from an oval mindset to a street course mindset quick. We have to maximize the two practice sessions before qualifying. You have to adapt fast but I’m usually pretty good at that. We did some simulator work before the Indy GP, we look at data and video to get ready and go out in the first practice and get in as many laps as we can.”
Christian will make his third start in Detroit and second at the downtown track. Last year, he started 18th and finished 16th. In 2022, he had worked his way up to 9th place from a 19th place start but had to pit earlier than planned to clear debris that was blocking airflow from his overheating car. The team had hoped to stay on the more durable primary tires longer in order to gain more positions but he had to compete his mandatory stint on the alternate tires on the next one before returning to the preferred primary tires for the final one and finished 14th. After starting second at the previous road course race at Indianapolis and finishing third, he is looking forward to returning to Detroit for another chance to earn a top result.

“Detroit was a challenging weekend last year. We were out of the window, but the team made a lot of changes after that, and we saw improvement from that. The program moved forward and our progression through St. Pete and Long Beach, this year, is going to help us for Detroit. I think the Hy-Vee car will be faster this year. We were okay in race trim, but we just started too far back. I’m looking forward to seeing how we perform and to continue the progression.”
Christian Lundgaard is ranked 11th in the series standings with 102 points. Graham Rahal is ranked 14th with a total of 87 and Pietro Fittipaldi is 22nd with 50 points.