CHAMPCAR/CART: Long Beach circuit modifications

1995 TOYOTA GRAND PRIX OF LONG BEACH PPG Indy Car World Series Race No. 4 April 7-9, 1995 SLIGHT MODIFICATIONS FOR 1995 CIRCUIT by Robert Heathcote for SpeedNet When the Indy cars take to the streets of Long Beach for the Grand Prix this ...

1995 TOYOTA GRAND PRIX OF LONG BEACH PPG Indy Car World Series Race No. 4 April 7-9, 1995

SLIGHT MODIFICATIONS FOR 1995 CIRCUIT by Robert Heathcote for SpeedNet

When the Indy cars take to the streets of Long Beach for the Grand Prix this weekend, newly installed FIA-style curbing in a key area will lend a different look to the circuit from previous years.

Organizers of the 1995 Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach are always looking to make the circuit better. As Grand Prix Founder Chris Pook told KABC 710/Talk Radio listeners on Steve Parker's Motorsports Show a few weeks ago, the circuit design is a "compromise" of what is available, efficient, and safe.

This year, Turns Two and Three have been modified, and though the circuit should remain 1.59-miles in length, as it has been since 1992, this portion of the track should account for a higher average speed. Sure to fall is the qualifying record of 108.450 mph set by Paul Tracy in 1994.

Turn Two, a 50 mph, 100-degree left, connects with Turn Three, a 60 mph 100-degree right hander, via an 300-ft short chute. Together with Turn One at the end of Shoreline Drive, this portion of the track is one of the trickiest on the Indy car circuit. Race fans will remember Al Unser Jr's hit-and-run of Mario Andretti in 1989, and his hit-then-DNF with Nigel Mansell in 1993.

The right-hand Turn One requires a late turn-in to set up for Turn Two. Turn One always had plenty of room and good visibility with the nearest concrete wall pushed well back from the apex. But at Turns Two and Three, the concrete wall was the apex, and vision around the corner was literally nil.

In response to race driver comments, the "concrete apex" has been pushed back at these turns and replaced with red-and-white painted FIA-style curbing, featuring a gentle rise of six inches over a span of 24.

The modification at Two Turn is minimal compared to the new Turn Three, (which from now on will be referred to as "Turn Bud," for reasons I will get to shortly), but the change but will serve its purpose well in my estimation. With the inside wall removed at Two, SCCA corner workers can now take advantage of an infield grass area to push dead race cars out of the way. There appears to be room enough for up to five cars, which, in past years, would have required a full course caution for tow vehicles.

"Turn Bud" is so-called by your reporter because apparently that is who paid for the modifications, and the rights to place the trademark "Bud" logo no fewer than 10 times in this area, including what appears will be an 8-ft by 12-ft flat billboard just inside the apex.

What makes "Bud" different from the preceeding turn is the implementation of rumble strips as well as the curbing. These rumble strips are really more akin to the speed bumps at your local shopping center with a gargantuation size of 18x36 inches and four inches tall. I expect to see daring drivers launch the right-hand wheels into the air as customarally seen at Monte Carlo for the Grand Prix of Monaco.

Regards,

..Robert Heathcote.......................AUTOSPORTS BBS..310-641-9627.. ..Email: HeathcoteR@aol.com...................Email: SpeedNet@aol.com.. ..Opinions are mine -- Not yours -- And surely not those of SpeedNet!..

-- Jack Durbin indy500@freenet.scri.fsu.edu Motorsport News International jackd@motorsport.com (Moderators for "rec.autos.sport.info") Homepage http://freenet3.scri.fsu.edu:81/users/indy500/index.html

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About this article
Series IndyCar
Drivers Steve Park , Paul Tracy , Nigel Mansell , Mario Andretti , Chris Pook , Al Unser