Grand Prix of Long Beach

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Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach
Long Beach Street Circuit.svg
Verizon IndyCar Series
Location Long Beach, California
33°45′59″N 118°11′34″W / 33.76639°N 118.19278°W / 33.76639; -118.19278Coordinates: 33°45′59″N 118°11′34″W / 33.76639°N 118.19278°W / 33.76639; -118.19278
Corporate sponsor Toyota
First race 1975
First ICS race 2009
Distance 157.440 mi (253.375 km)
Laps 80
Previous names Long Beach Grand Prix (1975)
United States Grand Prix West (1976–1979)
Toyota Grand Prix of the United States (1980–1981, 1983)
Most wins (driver) Al Unser, Jr. (6)
Most wins (team) Newman/Haas Racing (6)
Team Penske (6)
Most wins (manufacturer) Lola (11)
Circuit information
Length 1.968 mi (3.167 km)
Turns 11
Lap record 1:06.6294 (Hélio Castroneves, Dallara DW12 Chevrolet, 2015, IndyCar)

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 circuit in Champ Car from 1996-2008. The 2008 race was the last for Champ Cars as the series merged with the Indy Racing League.[1][2] It is now an event on the IndyCar Series calendar.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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

Circuit[edit]

Mark Smith driving in the 1993 race

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.

Events[edit]

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.[3] Additionally, a week of fairs, music, and promotional activities is held.

2008 and the Long Beach/Motegi "split weekend"[edit]

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.

Drifting[edit]

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[edit]

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[edit]

Long Beach Formula E Circuit as used for the Long Beach ePrix.

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.[4][5] 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.[6][7] The ePrix was held once again in 2016. However, it was not renewed for the third Formula E season in 2017.[8]

Future[edit]

The City of Long Beach and the Grand Prix Association have contracted to hold the Grand Prix through June 30, 2018.[9]

Winners[edit]

Season Date Driver Team Chassis Engine Race Distance Race Time Average Speed
(mph)
Report
Laps Miles (km)
Formula 5000
1975 Sept 28 United Kingdom Brian Redman Boraxo Lola Lola T332 Chevrolet 50 101 (162.543) 1:10:12 86.325 Report
Formula 1
1976 March 28 Switzerland Clay Regazzoni Scuderia Ferrari Ferrari
312T2
Ferrari 80 161.6 (260.069) 1:53:18 85.572 Report
1977 April 3 United States Mario Andretti John Player
Team Lotus
Lotus 78 Ford Cosworth 80 161.6 (260.069) 1:51:35 82.925 Report
1978 April 2 Argentina Carlos Reutemann Scuderia Ferrari
SpA SEFAC
Ferrari
312T3
Ferrari 80 161.6 (260.069) 1:52:01 86.555 Report
1979 April 8 Canada Gilles Villeneuve Scuderia Ferrari
SpA SEFAC
Ferrari
312T4
Ferrari 80 161.6 (260.069) 1:50:25 87.812 Report
1980 March 30 Brazil Nelson Piquet Parmalat Brabham
Racing Team
Brabham
BT49
Ford Cosworth 80 161.6 (260.069) 1:50:18 87.899 Report
1981 March 15 Australia Alan Jones Albilad Williams
Racing Team
Williams
FW07B
Ford Cosworth 80 161.6 (260.069) 1:50:41 87.601 Report
1982 April 4 Austria Niki Lauda Marlboro McLaren
International
McLaren
MP4/1B
Ford Cosworth 75 159.75 (257.092) 1:58:25 80.939 Report
1983 March 27 United Kingdom John Watson Marlboro McLaren
International
McLaren
MP4/1C
Ford Cosworth 75 152.55 (245.505) 1:53:34 80.624 Report
CART Indycar/Champ Car
1984 March 31 United States Mario Andretti Newman/Haas Racing Lola Cosworth 112 187.04 (301.011) 2:15:23 82.898 Report
1985 April 14 United States Mario Andretti Newman/Haas Racing Lola Cosworth 90 150.3 (241.884) 1:42:50 87.694 Report
1986 April 13 United States Michael Andretti Kraco Racing March Cosworth 95 158.65 (255.322) 1:57:34 80.965 Report
1987 April 5 United States Mario Andretti Newman/Haas Racing Lola Chevrolet-Ilmor 95 158.65 (255.322) 1:51:33 85.33 Report
1988 April 17 United States Al Unser, Jr. Galles Racing March Chevrolet-Ilmor 95 158.65 (255.322) 1:53:47 83.655 Report
1989 April 16 United States Al Unser, Jr. Galles Racing Lola Chevrolet-Ilmor 95 158.65 (255.322) 1:51:19 85.503 Report
1990 April 22 United States Al Unser, Jr. Galles/Kraco Racing Lola Chevrolet-Ilmor 95 158.65 (255.322) 1:53:00 84.227 Report
1991 April 14 United States Al Unser, Jr. Galles/Kraco Racing Lola Chevrolet-Ilmor 95 158.65 (255.322) 1:57:14 81.195 Report
1992 April 12 United States Danny Sullivan Galles/Kraco Racing Galmer Chevrolet-Ilmor 105 166.95 (268.679) 1:48:56 91.945 Report
1993 April 18 Canada Paul Tracy Penske Racing Penske Chevrolet-Ilmor 105 166.95 (268.679) 1:47:36 93.089 Report
1994 April 17 United States Al Unser, Jr. Penske Racing Penske Ilmor 105 166.95 (268.679) 1:40:53 99.283 Report
1995 April 9 United States Al Unser, Jr. Penske Racing Penske Mercedes-Benz-Ilmor 105 166.95 (268.679) 1:49:32 91.422 Report
1996 April 14 United States Jimmy Vasser Chip Ganassi Racing Reynard Honda 105 166.95 (268.679) 1:44:02 96.281 Report
1997 April 13 Italy Alex Zanardi Chip Ganassi Racing Reynard Honda 105 166.53 (268.004) 1:46:17 93.999 Report
1998 April 5 Italy Alex Zanardi Chip Ganassi Racing Reynard Honda 105 165.27 (265.976) 1:51:29 88.946 Report
1999 April 18 Colombia Juan Pablo
Montoya
Chip Ganassi Racing Reynard Honda 85 155.04 (249.512) 1:45:48 87.915 Report
2000 April 16 Canada Paul Tracy Team Green Reynard Honda 82 161.376 (259.709) 1:57:11 82.626 Report
2001 April 8 Brazil Hélio Castroneves Penske Racing Reynard Honda 82 161.376 (259.709) 1:52:17 86.223 Report
2002 April 14 United States Michael Andretti Team Green Reynard Honda 90 177.12 (285.047) 2:02:14 86.935 Report
2003 April 13 Canada Paul Tracy Forsythe Racing Lola Ford-Cosworth 90 177.12 (285.047) 1:56:01 91.59 Report
2004 April 18 Canada Paul Tracy Forsythe Racing Lola Ford-Cosworth 81 159.408 (256.542) 1:44:12 91.785 Report
2005 April 10 France Sébastien Bourdais Newman/Haas Racing Lola Ford-Cosworth 81 159.408 (256.542) 1:46:29 89.811 Report
2006 April 9 France Sébastien Bourdais Newman/Haas Racing Lola Ford-Cosworth 74 145.632 (234.371) 1:40:07 87.268 Report
2007 April 15 France Sébastien Bourdais Newman/Haas
/Lanigan Racing
Panoz Cosworth 78 153.504 (247.04) 1:40:43 91.432 Report
2008 April 20 Australia Will Power KV Racing Panoz Cosworth 83 163.344 (262.876) 1:45:25 92.964 Report
Verizon IndyCar Series
2009 April 19 United Kingdom Dario Franchitti Chip Ganassi Racing Dallara Honda 85 167.28 (269.211) 1:58:47 84.491 Report
2010 April 18 United States Ryan
Hunter-Reay
Andretti Autosport Dallara Honda 85 167.28 (269.211) 1:47:13 93.619 Report
2011 April 17 United Kingdom Mike Conway Andretti Autosport Dallara Honda 85 167.28 (269.211) 1:53:11 88.676 Report
2012 April 15 Australia Will Power Penske Racing Dallara Chevrolet 85 167.28 (269.211) 1:54:02 88.021 Report
2013 April 21 Japan Takuma Sato A. J. Foyt Enterprises Dallara Honda 80 157.44 (253.375) 1:50:09 85.763 Report
2014 April 13 United Kingdom Mike Conway Ed Carpenter Racing Dallara Chevrolet 80 157.44 (253.375) 1:54:42 82.362 Report
2015 April 19 New Zealand Scott Dixon Chip Ganassi Racing Dallara Chevrolet 80 157.44 (253.375) 1:37:35 96.8 Report
2016 April 17 France Simon Pagenaud Team Penske Dallara Chevrolet 80 157.44 (253.375) 1:33:54 100.592 Report

Atlantics/Indy Lights[edit]

American Le Mans Series / Grand-Am / IMSA[edit]

IMSA GT Championship
Year GTO GTU Report
1990 United States Dorsey Schroeder
Mercury Cougar
United States John Finger
Mazda MX-6
Report
1991 New Zealand Steve Millen
Nissan 300ZX
United States John Fergus
Dodge Daytona
Report
Rolex Sports Car Series
Year DP Report
2006 United States Scott Pruett
Mexico Luis Díaz
Riley Mk XX-Lexus
Report
American Le Mans Series
Year LMP1 LMP2 GT1 GT2 Report
2007 Italy Rinaldo Capello
United Kingdom Allan McNish
Audi R10 TDI
France Romain Dumas
Germany Timo Bernhard
Porsche RS Spyder
United Kingdom Oliver Gavin
Monaco Olivier Beretta
Chevrolet Corvette C6.R
Finland Mika Salo
Brazil Jaime Melo
Ferrari F430GT
Report
2008 Germany Marco Werner
Germany Lucas Luhr
Audi R10 TDI
United States Scott Sharp
Australia David Brabham
Acura ARX-01b
United States Johnny O'Connell
Denmark Jan Magnussen
Chevrolet Corvette C6.R
Germany Dominik Farnbacher
Germany Dirk Müller
Ferrari F430GT
Report
2009 Brazil Gil de Ferran
France Simon Pagenaud
Acura ARX-02a
Mexico Adrián Fernández
Mexico Luis Díaz
Acura ARX-01b
United Kingdom Oliver Gavin
Monaco Olivier Beretta
Chevrolet Corvette C6.R
United States Patrick Long
Germany Jörg Bergmeister
Porsche 911 GT3-RSR
Report
LMP LMPC GT GTC
2010 Australia David Brabham
France Simon Pagenaud
HPD ARX-01c
United States Elton Julian
United States Gunnar Jeannette
Oreca FLM09/Chevrolet
United States Patrick Long
Germany Jörg Bergmeister
Porsche 911 GT3-RSR
Mexico Juan González
United States Butch Leitzinger
Porsche 997 GT3 Cup
Report
LMP1 LMP2 LMPC GT GTC
2011 Germany Klaus Graf
Germany Lucas Luhr
Lola-Aston Martin B09/60
United States Scott Tucker
France Christophe Bouchut
HPD ARX-03b
United States Gunnar Jeannette
Mexico Ricardo González
Oreca FLM09/Chevrolet
Germany Dirk Müller
United States Joey Hand
BMW M3
United States Tim Pappas
Netherlands Jeroen Bleekemolen
Porsche 997 GT3 Cup
Report
2012 Germany Klaus Graf
Germany Lucas Luhr
HPD ARX-03a
United States Scott Tucker
France Christophe Bouchut
HPD ARX-03b
Venezuela Alex Popow
United Kingdom Ryan Dalziel
Oreca FLM09/Chevrolet
United Kingdom Oliver Gavin
United States Tommy Milner
Chevrolet Corvette C6 ZR1
United States Peter LeSaffre
Republic of Ireland Damien Faulkner
Porsche 997 GT3 Cup
Report
2013 Germany Klaus Graf
Germany Lucas Luhr
HPD ARX-03a
United States Scott Sharp
United States Guy Cosmo
HPD ARX-03b
United States Jon Bennett
United States Colin Braun
Oreca FLM09/Chevrolet
United States Bill Auberlen
Belgium Maxime Martin
BMW Z4 GTE
United Kingdom Sean Edwards
United States Henrique Cisneros
Porsche 997 GT3 Cup
Report
IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship (Professional Classes Only)
Year Prototype GT Le Mans Report
2014 United States Scott Pruett
Mexico Memo Rojas
Riley DP/Ford
Spain Antonio García
Denmark Jan Magnussen
Chevrolet Corvette C7.R
Report
2015 United States Ricky Taylor
United States Jordan Taylor
Corvette DP/Chevrolet
Germany Dirk Werner
United States Bill Auberlen
BMW Z4 GTE
Report
2016 United States Ricky Taylor
United States Jordan Taylor
Corvette DP/Chevrolet
France Patrick Pilet
United Kingdom Nick Tandy
Porsche 911 RSR
Report
  • Overall winners in bold
2005 Long Beach Grand Prix, showing turn 10 and the Long Beach skyline.

Broadcasting[edit]

Year Network Lap-by-lap Color commentator(s) Pit reporters
1984 NBC Paul Page Bobby Unser
Johnny Rutherford
Gary Gerould
Bruce Jenner
1985 NBC Paul Page Bobby Unser Gary Gerould
Bruce Jenner
1986 NBC Paul Page Bobby Unser Gary Gerould
Bruce Jenner
1987 NBC Paul Page Jackie Stewart Gary Gerould
Bruce Jenner
1988 ABC Paul Page Sam Posey
Bobby Unser
Jack Arute
Brian Hammons
1989 ABC Paul Page Sam Posey
Bobby Unser
Jack Arute
Brian Hammons
1990 ABC Paul Page Sam Posey
Bobby Unser
Jack Arute
Gary Gerould
1991 ABC Paul Page Sam Posey
Bobby Unser
Jack Arute
Gary Gerould
1992 ABC Paul Page Sam Posey
Bobby Unser
Jack Arute
Gary Gerould
1993 ABC Paul Page Sam Posey
Bobby Unser
Jack Arute
Gary Gerould
1994 ABC Paul Page Sam Posey
Bobby Unser
Jack Arute
Gary Gerould
1995 ABC Paul Page Sam Posey
Bobby Unser
Jack Arute
Gary Gerould
1996 ABC Paul Page Danny Sullivan Jack Arute
Gary Gerould
1997 ABC Bob Varsha Danny Sullivan Jack Arute
Gary Gerould
1998 ESPN Bob Varsha Danny Sullivan Jack Arute
Gary Gerould
Jon Beekhuis
1999 ABC Paul Page Parker Johnstone Gary Gerould
Jon Beekhuis
2000 ESPN Paul Page Parker Johnstone Gary Gerould
Jon Beekhuis
2001 ABC Paul Page Parker Johnstone
Scott Pruett
Gary Gerould
Jon Beekhuis
2002 FOX Bob Varsha Tommy Kendall Derek Daly
Calvin Fish
Scott Pruett
2003 SPEED Bob Varsha Tommy Kendall
Scott Pruett
Derek Daly
Calvin Fish
2004 SpikeTV Bob Jenkins Tommy Kendall Derek Daly
Calvin Fish
Bronte Tagliani
2005 NBC Rick Benjamin Derek Daly Jon Beekhuis
Calvin Fish
2006 NBC Rick Benjamin Derek Daly Jon Beekhuis
Cameron Steele
Michelle Beisner
2007 NBC Bill Weber Wally Dallenbach, Jr.
Jon Beekhuis
Bill Stephens
Cameron Steele
Marty Snider
2008 ESPN2 Marty Reid Scott Goodyear Jack Arute
Jamie Little
Brienne Pedigo
2009 Versus Bob Jenkins Jon Beekhuis
Robbie Buhl
Jack Arute
Robbie Floyd
Lindy Thackston
2010 Versus Bob Jenkins Jon Beekhuis
Robbie Buhl
Jack Arute
Robbie Floyd
Lindy Thackston
2011 Versus Bob Jenkins Jon Beekhuis
Wally Dallenbach, Jr.
Kevin Lee
Marty Snider
Lindy Thackston
Robin Miller
2012 NBCSN Bob Jenkins Jon Beekhuis
Wally Dallenbach, Jr.
Kevin Lee
Marty Snider
Townsend Bell
Robin Miller
2013 NBCSN Brian Till Townsend Bell
Wally Dallenbach, Jr.
Kevin Lee
Marty Snider
Jon Beekhuis
Robin Miller
2014 NBCSN Leigh Diffey Townsend Bell
Paul Tracy
Kevin Lee
Marty Snider
Kelli Stavast
Robin Miller
2015 NBCSN Brian Till Townsend Bell
Paul Tracy
Kevin Lee
Marty Snider
Kelli Stavast
Robin Miller
2016 NBCSN Rick Allen Townsend Bell
Paul Tracy
Kevin Lee
Marty Snider
Katie Hargitt
Robin Miller

References[edit]

  1. ^ Morales, Robert (February 27, 2008). "Champ Car finale to roar into L.B.". The Long Beach Press-Telegram. Retrieved 2008-02-27. 
  2. ^ Steven Cole Smith (2007-11-06). "Champ Car schedule "stable" for 2008". www.autoweek.com. Retrieved 2007-10-30. 
  3. ^ "Schedule". Stadium Super Trucks. Retrieved 2013-10-18. 
  4. ^ "Circuit Guide | Long Beach, USA - Round 7 | FIA Formula E". FIA Formula E. Retrieved 2014-08-26. 
  5. ^ "Formula E to race on streets of Long Beach in 2015". FIA Formula E. 2014-04-22. Retrieved 2014-08-26. 
  6. ^ "Formula E electric-car race in Long Beach to have free admission". LA Times. 2014-07-23. Retrieved 2014-08-26. 
  7. ^ "Environmentally friendly auto racing series Formula E coming to Long Beach". FIA Formula E. 2014-05-22. Retrieved 2014-08-26. 
  8. ^ "Formula E will not return to Long Beach in 2017". Long Beach Press Telegram. 2016-07-02. Retrieved 2016-07-30. 
  9. ^ Stewart, Joshua (April 22, 2014). "Grand Prix will stay in Long Beach until 2018". Long Beach Register. Retrieved April 23, 2014. 

Further reading[edit]

External links[edit]


Preceded by
Desert Diamond West Valley Phoenix Grand Prix
Current
IndyCar Series races
Succeeded by
Indy Grand Prix of Alabama