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Grand Prix of Long Beach

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Location  Long Beach, California
First race  1975
Laps  80
Corporate sponsor  Toyota
First ICS race  2009
Grand Prix of Long Beach Grand Prix of Long Beach Wikipedia
Distance  157.440 mi (253.375 km)
Similar  Honda Indy Grand Prix of Alabama, Mid‑Ohio Sports Car Course, Indianapolis Motor Speedway, Indianapolis 500, Barber Motorsports Park

2016 toyota grand prix of long beach

The Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach is an open-wheel race held on a street circuit in Long Beach, California. Christopher Pook is the founder of the event, which began as a vision while working at a travel agency in downtown Long Beach. It was the premier race in CART from 1996-2008. The 2008 race was the last for Champ Cars as the series merged with the IndyCar Series. It is now an event on the IndyCar Series calendar.


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The Long Beach Grand Prix in April is the single largest event in the city of Long Beach. Attendance for the weekend regularly reaches or exceeds 200,000 people.

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The Long Beach Grand Prix is the longest running major "street" race held on the North American continent. It started in 1975 as a Formula 5000 race on the streets of downtown, and became a Formula One event in 1976. Incredibly, in an era when turbocharged engines were starting to come to prominence in Formula One, Long Beach remains one of the few circuits used from the time Renault introduced turbos in 1977 until the last Long Beach Grand Prix in 1983 that never once saw a turbo powered car take victory.

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John Watson's win for McLaren in the final race at Long Beach holds the F1 record for the lowest ever starting position for a race winner. In a grid consisting of 26 cars, Watson started 22nd in his McLaren-Ford. That same race also saw Watson's team mate (and 1982 Long Beach winner) Niki Lauda finish second after starting 23rd on the grid. René Arnoux, who finished third in his Ferrari 126C2B, was the only driver to ever finish on the Formula One podium at Long Beach using a turbocharged car.

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From 1984 to 2008 it was a CART Indycar/Champ Car event. Other popular events during the Grand Prix week include a Pirelli World Challenge race, an IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship race, and the Motegi Racing Super Drift Challenge. Toyota has been a sponsor of the event since its beginning and title sponsor since 1980, believed to be the longest continuously running sports sponsorship in the U.S.

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The Long Beach Grand Prix has been announced since 1978 by Bruce Flanders (and his assorted guest announcers).

2016 toyota grand prix of long beach race highlights


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The current race circuit is a 1.968-mile (3.167 km) temporary road course carved out of the city streets surrounding the Long Beach Convention Center which actually doubled as the pit paddock during the days of Formula One. The circuit also goes primarily over the former location of The Pike historic amusement zone. It is particularly noted for its last section, which sees a hairpin turn followed 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 towards the Aquarium of the Pacific), making for a scenic track.


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Although the Verizon IndyCar Series race is the main event, a number of other races are also held. On April 8, 2006, the Grand-Am Daytona Prototypes took to the streets, replacing the suspended Trans-Am Series. Other races have included Indy Lights (which ran from 1990-2001 and 2009–15) and the popular Toyota Pro/Celebrity Race which ended its 40-year run in 2016. Beginning in 2007, the American Le Mans Series replaced Grand-Am. Starting in 2013, the circuit has also held the Stadium Super Trucks. 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 Motegi the 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 Kalkhoven and 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 raced at Long Beach. Both races counted towards the 2008 IndyCar Series Championship. The Long Beach Grand Prix allowed all Champ Car drivers to race with their turbocharged Panoz-Cosworth Champ Cars that would have been used had the merger not taken place. Long Beach/Motegi was the only split weekend of the 2008 IndyCar Series.


Beginning in 2005 the event included a demonstration by participants in the Formula D drifting series. Since 2006 Formula D has held the first round of their pro series on Turns 9-11 on the weekend prior to the Grand Prix. In 2013 the Motegi Super Drift Challenge, a drifting competition, was added on the GP weekend, using the same Turn 9-11 course as Formula D. The Motegi Super Drift Challenge is the only event during the GP that runs at night, under floodlights.

North American Touring Car Championship

Long Beach hosted the opening round of the 1997 North American Touring Car Championship season, being won by Neil Crompton in a Honda Accord.

Formula E

A modified version of the Long Beach Grand Prix track was used during the Long Beach ePrix of the FIA Formula E Championship. The track is 2.1 km (1.3 mi) in length and features seven turns. Admission to the first event was free: "the free admission will afford everyone the opportunity to come out and witness this historic and unique event," Jim Michaelian, president of the Grand Prix Assn. of Long Beach, said in a statement. The ePrix was held once again in 2016. However, it was not renewed for the third Formula E season in 2017.


The City of Long Beach and the Grand Prix Association have contracted to hold the Grand Prix through June 30, 2018.

American Le Mans Series / Grand-Am / IMSA

  • Overall winners in bold
  • References

    Grand Prix of Long Beach Wikipedia