- Long Beach Grand Prix
Infobox Indycar race
Name = Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach
Venue = Streets of
Long Beach, California
UTC-5 (UTC-4 DST)
First race =
First IRL race =
Distance = 1.968 miles
Laps = TBA
Previous names = Inaugural Long Beach Grand Prix (1975)
United States Grand Prix West (1976-1983)
Long Beach Grand Prix (1984-1985)
The Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach is an
open-wheelrace held on a temporary road course in Long Beach, California. It was the premier circuit in the Champ Car World Series and was the first event in the World Series each year. The 2008 race was the last race for Champ Cars as the series merged with the Indy Racing League[cite news |first=Robert |last=Morales |authorlink= |coauthors= |title=Champ Car finale to roar into L.B. |url=http://www.presstelegram.com/news/ci_8387289 |work=The Long Beach Press-Telegram |publisher=|date=February 27, 2008 |accessdate=2008-02-27 ] [cite web |url=http://www.autoweek.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20071106/FREE/71106009/1015/FREE |title=Champ Car schedule "stable" for 2008 |accessdate=2007-10-30 |author=Steven Cole Smith |date=2007-11-06 |work=www.autoweek.com |publisher=] , and is now an event on the IRL calendar.
The Long Beach Grand Prix is also the longest running major "street" race held on the North American continent, having completed its 34th event. Attendance for the weekend regularly reaches or exceeds 200,000 people.
Long Beach Grand Prixin April is the single largest event in the city of Long Beach. It started in 1975as a Formula 5000race on the streets of downtown, and became a Formula Oneevent the following year. Since 1984it has been a CART/Champ Car event. Other popular events during the Grand Prix week have included a Champ Car Atlanticseries race, a Historic Grand Prix featuring pre-1990 cars, and the Toyota Pro/Celebrity Race.
The Long Beach Grand Prix has been announced since 1978 by Bruce Flanders (and his assorted guest announcers) and is frequently a fan favorite.
The current race circuit is a 1.968-mile temporary road course carved out of the city streets surrounding the Convention Center of
Long Beach, California. It is particularly noted for its last section, which sees a hairpin turnfollowed by a long, slightly curved front straightaway which runs the length of Shoreline Drive. The circuit is situated on the Long Beach waterfront, and is lined with palm trees(especially along the front straightaway), making for a scenic track.
Although the Champ Car World Series is the main event, a number of other races are also held. On April 8, 2006, the
Grand-AmDaytona Prototypes took to the streets, replacing the suspended Trans-Am Series. Beginning in 2007, the American Le Mans Seriesreplaced Grand-Am. Other races include the Champ Car Atlantic Championshipand the popular Toyota Pro/Celebrity Race. Additionally, a week of fairs, music, and promotional activities is held.
2008 and the Long Beach/Motegi "split weekend"
During negotiations which led to the merging of the Champ Car World Series and the IRL IndyCar Series, a problem came in the form of a scheduling conflict between the Champ Car race scheduled at Long Beach and the IndyCar race held at
Twin Ring Motegithe same weekend. Honda, who owns the Motegi complex and also supplies equipment to the IndyCar Series, could not change their scheduled race date of April 19. Likewise, Long Beach could not change their race weekend (with the Champ Car race scheduled for April 20), such change being a difficult task considering the civil and infrastructural preparations required for a temporary street circuit.
However, all problems were resolved when the two open wheel series agreed to merge in February 2008.
Tony George(president of the Indy Racing League), with Kevin Kalkhovenand Gerald Forsythe(the former co-owners of Champ Car) planned an unprecedented "split weekend" of races at Twin Ring Motegi and Long Beach. This compromise allowed all IRL drivers to race in Japan, while ex-Champ Car drivers will race at Long Beach. Both races will count towards the 2008 IndyCar Series Championship. The Long Beach Grand Prix allowed all Champ Car drivers to race with their turbocharged Panoz- CosworthChamp Cars that would have been used had the merger not taken place. Long Beach/Motegi will be the only split weekend of the 2008 IndyCar Series.
Beginning in 2005 the event included a demonstration by participants in the
Formula Ddrifting series, in which participants engage in controlled slides, moving their cars sideways across the track.
2009 and the IndyCar series
July 30 2008, the schedule for the 2009 IndyCar Series seasonwas released, with Long Beach being scheduled to be the second race of the year, taking place the weekend of the 19 April 2009.
* [http://www.longbeachgrandprix.com Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach]
* [http://www.champcar.ws Champ Car World Series]
* [http://maps.google.com/maps?f=q&hl=en&q=Long+Beach,+California&om=1&ie=UTF8&z=16&ll=33.764807,-118.188987&spn=0.007849,0.021629&t=k Satellite picture by Google Maps]
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