With three back to back to back race weekends for Formula E, then Formula Drift, then the IndyCar series, Long Beach gets a head start on the track build.
If there’s any city that knows how to promote its racing, it’s got to be the City of Long Beach, together with the Grand Prix Association of Long Beach (GPALB).
With three consecutive weekends of racing scheduled to start the month of April, GPALB has already started building grandstands and setting up concrete blocks that line the 1.968-mile circuit used for the Verizon IndyCar Series, TUDOR United Sports Car Championship, Indy Lights, Pirelli World Challenge and the returning Pro/Celebrity race.
Of course the FIA Formula E racers will only use a 1.3-mile portion of the circuit, while Formula Drift, which races the week after Formula E and the week before the Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach uses a bit of the back straight and turns 9-11 for its tire-burning exercises.
Track construction officially began on Monday, February 16, yet GPALB president Jim Michaelian and the city’s mayor Robert Garcia took time out for a Tuesday photo opportunity to show they’re ready to get this beach party started. The duo drove the Scion Pro/Celebrity racecar (Michaelian, who raced in January at the Rolex 24 at Daytona) while Mayor Garcia drove a Lexus pace vehicle slowly through Turn 10 in anticipation of the beginning of festivities.
Excited for the popular event
Garcia, who was a city councilman before becoming mayor last year is excited to host the most popular event in the city when it’s his turn to preside in less than a couple of months. He was good-natured about the promotion and recognizes that these three events in quick succession bring a huge amount of awareness and activity to his city. As well as filling city streets with people that love motor sport.
Both gentlemen waved green flags to - officially - get the proceedings started for the trio of races. While he’s got an invitation, Michaelian said he’d have to forego a trip to Florida for the Mobil 1 12 Hours of Sebring. “It’s just two weeks before we start our racing; there’s no time,” he regretfully told this reporter.