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Track Construction Begins!

February 29, 2024

Southern California’s 200-MPH Beach Party Returns April 19-21, and construction began today on the city streets comprising the world-famous Acura Grand Prix of Long Beach race circuit.

Over the next 50 days, more than 2,400 concrete blocks that anchor the safety system around the 1.97-mile, 11-turn racing circuit will be placed along with 14 large grandstands that line the racecourse. More than 192,000 fans attended the race in 2023, the event’s highest attendance since the 2008 Indy car “reunification.”

Today, Long Beach Mayor Rex Richardson and Grand Prix Association of Long Beach President and CEO Jim Michaelian commemorated the start of track construction in what will become Turn 10 of the racecourse in the Long Beach Arena parking lot.

“Over the past 49 years, the [Acura] Grand Prix has become part of the tapestry of Long Beach,” said Richardson. “Every year, thousands of people come here to enjoy our waterfront, understand our community, see the Port of Long Beach as a backdrop and really support our local economy. The people who set up this racecourse – their kids play soccer at Long Beach parks, they go to Long Beach schools so it’s really an economic boon with a big local impact.”

“We had a very successful event last year with the best attendance of the modern era,” said Michaelian. “With the addition of the sports cars of GT America, the vintage Indy car race and a free-to-participate racing simulator tournament from new sponsor Cooler Master, we think this year’s Acura Grand Prix will be an even more appealing weekend. We will soon be announcing more exciting additions to our schedule including concerts, race week events and the inductees to the Long Beach Motorsports Walk of Fame.”

In total, Grand Prix Director of Operations Dwight Tanaka, LIUNA Local 1309 and Grand Prix Operations staff will put in more than 33,000 working hours installing the safety system – more than 14 million pounds of concrete blocks, four miles of fencing and 17,000 bolted-together tires – along with grandstands, seven pedestrian bridges and nine giant vision boards for full-circuit TV coverage.

Tanaka’s staff will also install 50 high-end hospitality suites, three hospitality clubs, tents, electrical lines and equipment, phones, porta-johns, trash containers and a myriad of other items around the track.

The eastern portion of the racetrack (Turns 9, 10 and 11) will also be used for Round One of the eight-event 2024 Formula Drift season April 12-13, and part of the circuit will be used as a running course for the Grand Prix Foundation of Long Beach’s 6th Annual Grand Prix 5K Run on Sunday morning, April 14.

All businesses along the race circuit, which includes Shoreline Drive, Aquarium Way and Pine Ave., will remain open during construction of the racetrack.

The Acura Grand Prix of Long Beach will be headlined by the second round of the NTT INDYCAR SERIES, as well as the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship. In addition, the weekend will include the Super Drift Challenge under the lights on Friday and Saturday nights, the SPEED/UTV Stadium Super Trucks, Historic Indy Car Challenge and the SRO GT America Powered by AWS.

Acura Grand Prix ticket prices range from $40 for a Friday General Admission ticket to $185 for a three-day ticket that includes Sat./Sun. reserved seating in grandstand upper levels.  Pre-paid parking packages are also available, along with handicapped seating, NTT INDYCAR SERIES Paddock passes, Super Photo tickets and a wide variety of hospitality packages. Continuing a longstanding policy at the Grand Prix. children 12 years and under will be admitted free with a ticketed adult.

Fans can select and pay for their 2024 Acura Grand Prix of Long Beach seats, parking and paddock passes online at gplb.com. Ticket orders can also be placed by calling the toll-free ticket hotline, (888) 827-7333.

Fans can also follow the 2024 Acura Grand Prix of Long Beach on Facebook (GrandPrixLB), Twitter @GPLongBeach (#AGPLB) and Instagram @GPLongBeach, as well as via the official Grand Prix app available on Google Play and the Apple App Store.

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Rocket Convenience Stores Signs as Sponsor!

February 28, 2024

Rocket® Convenience Stores has joined the 2024 Acura Grand Prix of Long Beach as a first-time Official Sponsor, joining a strong family of sponsors as the iconic race runs for the 49th time April 19-21.  

The Acura Grand Prix of Long Beach is renowned for its exhilarating races and vibrant atmosphere. As an official sponsor, Rocket Convenience Stores will have its brand prominently featured throughout the event, with signage, promotions and activations at the event.

“Sharing the same Long Beach pedigree and an obsession with speed and quickness, partnering with the Acura Grand Prix of Long Beach was a natural next step in the evolution of our Rocket® Convenience Stores brand. As we introduce ourselves to their loyal fans, we look forward to delivering convenience to them in their daily lives at every turn!” said Bill Mullen, President of Retail and Retail Operations, Rocket® Convenience Stores.

With an extensive network of more than 450 locations throughout California, Oregon, Washington, and Colorado, Rocket® has established itself as a go-to destination for customers seeking a convenient, courteous, and reliable shopping experience. From freshly brewed coffee to grab-and-go snacks everyone craves, Rocket® Convenience Stores offers a wide array of products and top-tier fuel brands to meet the needs of busy individuals and families on the go.

"We are delighted to welcome Rocket® Convenience Stores as a sponsor of the Acura Grand Prix of Long Beach," said Jim Michaelian, Grand Prix Association of Long Beach President and CEO. "They are a fixture here in Southern California and we look forward to working together to enhance their brand among our fans and promote America’s #1 Street Race across their excellent network of retail locations."

In addition to its sponsorship of the Acura Grand Prix of Long Beach, Rocket® Convenience Stores remains dedicated to supporting local communities through various philanthropic initiatives and partnerships.

Acura Grand Prix ticket prices range from $40 for a Friday General Admission ticket to $185 for a three-day ticket that includes Sat./Sun. reserved seating in grandstand upper levels.  Pre-paid parking packages are also available, along with handicapped seating, NTT INDYCAR SERIES Paddock passes, Super Photo tickets and a wide variety of hospitality packages. Continuing a longstanding policy at the Grand Prix. children 12 years and under will be admitted free with a ticketed adult.

Fans can select and pay for their 2024 Acura Grand Prix of Long Beach seats, parking and paddock passes online at gplb.com. Ticket orders can also be placed by calling the toll-free ticket hotline, (888) 827-7333.

Fans can also follow the 2024 Acura Grand Prix of Long Beach on Facebook (GrandPrixLB), Twitter @GPLongBeach (#AGPLB) and Instagram @GPLongBeach, as well as via the official Grand Prix app available on Google Play and the Apple App Store.

ABOUT ROCKET CONVENIENCE STORES:

Rocket® Convenience Stores is a leading provider of convenient shopping experiences and fueling options across California, offering a wide range of products and services to meet the needs of customers on the go. Rocket’s focus on quality, and exceptional customer service, has made the local convenience retailer a trusted destination for people of all ages looking for quick and reliable shopping solutions right in their own backyard. Not just snacks and drinks, they offer fuel under the 76®, Conoco®, Phillips 66®, Shell®, Chevron®, and United Oil® brands. For more information about Rocket® Convenience Stores and their wide variety of everyday essentials and store convenient locations, please visit www.rocketstores.com.

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SmartStop Comes Aboard as Official Sponsor!

February 20, 2024

SmartStop Self Storage REIT, Inc. (“SmartStop”) has joined the Acura Grand Prix of Long Beach family of sponsors, officials from both organizations announced today. The Acura Grand Prix, one of the premier events in motorsports, is set to return to Long Beach’s city streets April 19-21, with more than 190,000 spectators and enthusiasts from around the world in attendance.

The Acura Grand Prix of Long Beach, known for its thrilling races and electrifying atmosphere, is the perfect platform for SmartStop to showcase its commitment to excellence and community involvement. SmartStop's sponsorship will be prominent throughout the event, with branding featured at various locations around the race circuit, including on-track signage, an engaging fan experience in the Lifestyle Expo, and promotional materials.

SmartStop is a leading provider of storage solutions across the United States and Canada, offering a wide range of storage options to meet the needs of individuals and businesses alike. With a focus on convenience, security, and customer service, SmartStop is a trusted name in the industry, providing peace of mind to customers seeking reliable storage solutions.

"We're excited to announce our sponsorship of the Acura Grand Prix of Long Beach, marking a significant step in our commitment to supporting dynamic events that bring communities together and showcase excellence in performance,” said H. Michael Schwartz, Chairman and CEO of SmartStop. “This partnership not only underscores our dedication to fostering innovation and enthusiasm but also gives us a chance to connect with race fans and enrich their experience at one of racing’s most iconic events.”

"We are delighted to welcome SmartStop as a sponsor of the Acura Grand Prix of Long Beach for the first time," said Jim Michaelian, Grand Prix Association of Long Beach President and CEO. "They are a storage industry leader and their commitment to giving back to local communities aligns perfectly with the values of our event. We look forward to working with SmartStop to create an unforgettable experience for their stakeholders and our fans."

In addition to its sponsorship of the Acura Grand Prix of Long Beach, SmartStop remains dedicated to supporting communities locally and across North America through various philanthropic initiatives and partnerships.

For more information about SmartStop and its services, please visit www.smartstopselfstorage.com.

About SmartStop Self Storage:

SmartStop Self Storage REIT, Inc. (“SmartStop”) is a self-managed REIT with a fully integrated operations team of approximately 500 self-storage professionals focused on growing the SmartStop® Self Storage brand. SmartStop, through its indirect subsidiary SmartStop REIT Advisors, LLC, also sponsors other self-storage programs. As of February 15, 2024, SmartStop has an owned or managed portfolio of 195 operating properties in 22 states and Canada, comprising approximately 137,400 units and 15.5 million rentable square feet. SmartStop and its affiliates own or manage 34 operating self-storage properties in Canada, which total approximately 29,600 units and 3.1 million rentable square feet. Additional information regarding SmartStop is available at www.smartstopselfstorage.com.

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Omologato Partners with Grand Prix; Will Offer Limited Edition GPLB Watch!

January 10, 2024

The Acura Grand Prix of Long Beach, one of the most iconic motorsports events in the world, is thrilled to announce an exhilarating partnership with Omologato, the renowned watchmaking brand synonymous with precision, innovation, and a deep passion for motorsports. This collaboration marks the union of two powerhouses, bringing together the adrenaline-pumping excitement of racing with the meticulous craftsmanship of timepieces.

As a longstanding pillar in the racing community, the Grand Prix of Long Beach has consistently pushed the boundaries of speed, showcasing cutting-edge technology and hosting some of the most riveting races in the history of motorsports. With a rich legacy spanning several decades, the Grand Prix of Long Beach has become a cultural phenomenon, drawing enthusiasts from around the globe to witness the sheer spectacle of speed and precision.

Omologato, founded by Shami Kalra, has established itself as a premier watch brand with a singular focus on the world of motorsports. The brand's commitment to creating timepieces that capture the essence of racing has garnered a dedicated following among racing aficionados, drivers, and collectors alike. Omologato watches are celebrated for their impeccable design, attention to detail, and a spirit that resonates with the heart and soul of motorsports.

The partnership between the Grand Prix of Long Beach and Omologato represents a fusion of two worlds, where the relentless pursuit of perfection meets the exhilarating rush of the racetrack. Both entities share a commitment to delivering unparalleled experiences to their audiences, making this collaboration a natural fit.

"We are incredibly excited to announce our partnership with Omologato," said Grand Prix President & CEO Jim Michaelian. "This collaboration goes beyond a typical sponsorship – it's a celebration of precision, speed, and the unyielding passion that drives both motorsports and watchmaking. Omologato's dedication to crafting timepieces that embody the spirit of racing aligns seamlessly with our mission to deliver unforgettable moments on the track. Together, we are poised to create an extraordinary synergy that will resonate with fans and enthusiasts alike."

Shami Kalra, Founder of Omologato, expressed equal enthusiasm about the collaboration, stating, "Partnering with the Grand Prix of Long Beach is a dream come true for us at Omologato. The Grand Prix is not just a race; it's an institution, a celebration of everything that makes motorsports exhilarating. Our timepieces have always been inspired by the World of racing, and this collaboration allows us to deepen our connection with the racing community. We look forward to bringing our passion for precision and design to the heart of the Grand Prix of Long Beach."

As part of the partnership, Omologato will unveil a limited-edition timepiece inspired by the Grand Prix of Long Beach. This exclusive watch will embody the spirit of the race, featuring unique design elements that pay homage to the iconic circuit and the thrill of high-speed competition. Limited to a select number of pieces, this timepiece will become a coveted collector's item for racing enthusiasts and watch connoisseurs alike. Race winners that weekend will be awarded bespoke Omologato watches on the podium.

In addition to the exclusive timepiece, the collaboration will include joint marketing initiatives, special events, and unique experiences for fans attending the Grand Prix of Long Beach. Omologato will also be featured prominently throughout the race weekend, with brand integration on and off the track.

The Grand Prix of Long Beach and Omologato partnership represents a union of passion, precision, and performance. This collaboration is not just about watches and race cars; it's about capturing the essence of speed and time, two elements that define the heart-pounding excitement of motorsports.

About the Acura Grand Prix of Long Beach: The Acura Grand Prix of Long Beach is an iconic motorsports event that has been thrilling fans since 1975. As one of the premier street races in the world, the Grand Prix of Long Beach attracts top-tier racing, cutting-edge technology, and enthusiastic crowds from around the globe. The event has become a cultural phenomenon, synonymous with speed, excitement, and the spirit of competition.

About Omologato: Omologato is a leading watch brand founded by Shami Kalra, driven by a passion for motorsports and a commitment to creating timepieces that capture the essence of racing. With a focus on precision, design, and innovation, Omologato watches have gained recognition among racing enthusiasts, drivers, and collectors. Each Omologato timepiece is a celebration of the thrilling world of motorsports, combining functionality with a distinctive aesthetic. Website: [www.omologatowatches.com]

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Tickets Now On Sale!

November 7, 2023

Southern California’s 200-MPH Beach PartyTM returns April 19-21! Tickets for the 2024 Acura Grand Prix of Long Beach are now on sale.

The race weekend will feature the second round of the NTT INDYCAR® SERIES with celebrated drivers such as former Long Beach winners Josef Newgarden, Colton Herta, Scott Dixon and Will Power, along with defending race winner Kyle Kirkwood, defending Series champion Alex Palou and young stars such as Pato O’Ward and 2023 Rookie of the Year Marcus Armstrong expected to battle on the famed 1.97-mile, 11-turn circuit through downtown Long Beach. All will be competing in the new hybrid powered INDYCAR machines for 2024.

In addition, the Saturday, April 20 featured event will be the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship with its headlining GTP (GT Prototype) class, featuring hybrid prototypes from the Acura, BMW, Cadillac and Porsche driven by defending series champions Pipo Derani and Alexander Sims, as well as Ricky Taylor, Jordan Taylor, Filipe Albuquerque and Earl Bamber. The GTP cars will be joined on track by the GTD (GT Daytona) class, making for an exciting and pass-filled race expected to have 27 cars in total.  

Fans will also see two nights of the Formula DRIFT Super Drift Challenge Friday and Saturday, Saturday and Sunday races from Robby Gordon’s SPEED Energy Stadium SUPER Trucks and doubleheaders from the new-for-2024 GT America Powered by AWS and Historic Indy Car Challenge, featuring vintage Indy cars from the 1970s and ‘80s.

“Our 2024 event is going to be another action-packed weekend for the entire family to enjoy,” said Jim Michaelian, Grand Prix Association of Long Beach President and CEO. “The additions of GT America and the vintage Indy cars plus the off-track attractions just add to the excitement that our fans will experience at an affordable price next April.”

Off the track and free to all race attendees will be the popular Lifestyle Expo with more than 100 exhibitors offering the latest products and services in automotive, travel, home improvement, green power, fitness and recreation as well as the large Family Fun Zone in the Long Beach Arena. There will also be concerts, food trucks, exotic car displays and a wide variety of activities for the whole family.

Ticket prices range from $40 for a Friday General Admission ticket to $185 for a three-day ticket that includes Sat./Sun. reserved seating in grandstand upper levels.  Pre-paid parking packages are also available, along with handicapped seating, NTT INDYCAR SERIES Paddock passes, Super Photo tickets and a wide variety of hospitality packages. Continuing a longstanding policy at the Grand Prix. children 12 years and under will be admitted free with a ticketed adult.

Starting on Monday, Nov. 13, fans can select and pay for their 2024 Acura Grand Prix of Long Beach seats, parking and paddock passes online at gplb.com. Ticket orders can also be placed by calling the toll-free ticket hotline, (888) 827-7333.

Fans can also follow the 2024 Acura Grand Prix of Long Beach on Facebook (GrandPrixLB), Twitter @GPLongBeach (#AGPLB) and Instagram @GPLongBeach, as well as via the official Grand Prix app available on Google Play and the Apple App Store.

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Long Beach Announced as Race #2 of 2024 NTT INDYCAR SERIES Schedule!

September 25, 2023

The Acura Grand Prix of Long Beach was announced as Race #2 of the 2024 NTT INDYCAR SERIES schedule, set for Sunday, April 21 as INDYCAR announced its 17-race 2024 schedule this morning.

The schedule is also highlighted by two Saturday night races, a new and unique made-for-TV exhibition in Southern California, a global entertainment destination as the new host city for the season finale, and 12 NBC broadcast network showcases bolstered by the rising popularity of live streaming on Peacock.

Milwaukee Mile lands on the INDYCAR SERIES schedule for the first time since 2015. With the return set for Labor Day weekend, the iconic facility began hosting INDYCAR SERIES racing in 1939 and has featured wins by legendary drivers such as Rodger Ward (seven), Michael Andretti (five), Mario Andretti, A.J. Foyt, Gordon Johncock, Johnny Rutherford, Tom Sneva, Paul Tracy, Al Unser and Bobby Unser (four each).

The fabled 1-mile oval in West Allis, Wisconsin, also will showcase the NTT INDYCAR SERIES racing with a doubleheader weekend for the first time in the track’s history, providing two crucial races during the homestretch of the 2024 championship.

The 2024 NTT INDYCAR SERIES season opens Sunday, March 10 on the Streets of St. Petersburg, Florida, for the 20th Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg presented by RP Funding. North America’s premier open-wheel series will crisscross the United States, including a stop for the 108th Indianapolis 500 presented by Gainbridge on Sunday, May 26, before all roads lead to Nashville for an unforgettable championship finale Sunday, Sept. 15 down the heart of the city’s entertainment district and honky tonk row, where the 2024 champion will be crowned for the first time.

“The upward trajectory of the NTT INDYCAR SERIES is reflected through the 2024 schedule,” Penske Entertainment Corp. President and CEO Mark Miles said. “With stops at premier and global entertainment districts, classic American road courses and thrilling, high-speed ovals, the 2024 season will be exhilarating and highly competitive from beginning to end.

“The growth of INDYCAR is palpable. Combined with the efforts of our teams and partners, the 2024 championship will be the perfect showcase for our drivers as we continue to build on our reach and popularity.”

For the sixth consecutive season, NBC Sports will be the exclusive home for INDYCAR coverage in the United States. NBC will provide network coverage 12 times during the 2024 NTT INDYCAR SERIES season. It is the first time in 20 years the INDYCAR SERIES schedule has featured three consecutive years of double-digit events on network television.

Peacock remains the streaming home of INDYCAR. In a first for the streaming destination, Peacock will be the exclusive home of two races in a season – Toronto for the third year in a row and Milwaukee (Race 1) for the first time. In addition to the exclusive races, Peacock will once again simulstream all races airing on TV and will be the home to all practices, qualifying and INDY NXT by Firestone races.

The 2023 NTT INDYCAR SERIES season proved to be NBC Sports’ most-watched INDYCAR SERIES season on record, averaging a Total Audience Delivery (TAD) of 1.32 million viewers. It also marked the third consecutive year of viewership growth across NBC Sports platforms, including a record audience streaming the NTT INDYCAR SERIES on Peacock.

Long Beach and The Road to Indianapolis

Two street circuits and two road courses will entertain NTT INDYCAR SERIES fans and set the stage for the Indianapolis 500 presented by Gainbridge. After the 2024 season opens Sunday, March 10 for the 14th time on the sun-splashed Streets of St. Petersburg, the NTT INDYCAR SERIES returns to The Thermal Club for the first $1 Million Challenge Sunday, March 24.

Serving as an Open Test and a non-points NBC showcase, the event will take place at the world-class facility located just outside of Palm Springs, California – a short drive from Los Angeles and the world’s top entertainment market. The $1 Million Challenge weekend format will include a qualifying session and two heat races. With members of The Thermal Club embedded with race teams and drivers, the top six finishers from the two heat races will advance to a showcase of stars, where they’ll compete for a $1 million prize.

The NTT INDYCAR SERIES schedule resumes Sunday, April 21 on the palm tree-lined Streets of Long Beach, with a telecast on USA Network. It will be the 40th time the INDYCAR SERIES has raced on the iconic Southern California streets, in the shadows of Hollywood.

The series’ next five events will be featured on NBC broadcast television and Peacock.

Barber Motorsports Park will host the INDYCAR SERIES for the 14th time, with the Sunday, April 28 race marking the final NTT INDYCAR SERIES event before moving into the traditional Month of May calendar at Indianapolis Motor Speedway. May at IMS begins with a race on the road course Saturday, May 11 before attention shifts to the famed 2.5-mile oval for two days of qualifying Saturday-Sunday, May 18-19 building toward the 108th edition of “The Greatest Spectacle in Racing” – the world’s largest single-day sporting event – on Sunday, May 26.

Ticket sales for the “500” are at a pace exceeding 2023, when well over 300,000 attended the largest single-day sporting event in the world. It was the second-largest Indy 500 crowd in more than two decades.

Summer Heat

The NTT INDYCAR SERIES will feature an adrenaline-filled stretch of action on five consecutive weekends leading into the months of June and July. It begins with the Chevrolet Detroit Grand Prix presented by Lear on Sunday, June 2 on USA Network, with racing on the 1.7-mile downtown street circuit for the second straight year. The new layout on the city’s vibrant and challenging streets featured as much passing as any street circuit in 2023.

The intense competition continues a week later on NBC and Peacock at historic Road America on Sunday, June 9. The newly repaved, picturesque circuit in Elkhart Lake, Wisconsin, witnessed the most on-track passing for an INDYCAR SERIES race at the facility in 2023.

The 2024 season continues Sunday, June 23 at WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca on USA Network. Known for its iconic and breathtaking Corkscrew turn complex, the Northern California facility will host an INDYCAR SERIES race in June for the first time in 21 years.

The summer heat is turned up in July with four races in three weeks – beginning with three consecutive broadcast showcases on NBC and Peacock.

Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course will continue the country’s Fourth of July celebration by hosting the NTT INDYCAR SERIES on Sunday, July 7 on NBC. Mid-Ohio matches Long Beach as it hosts INDYCAR SERIES racing for the 40th year in 2024.

The annual Hy-Vee INDYCAR Race Weekend doubleheader at Iowa Speedway is scheduled for Saturday and Sunday, July 13-14, again on NBC. The 2024 edition will include the return of a Saturday night race to the jam-packed weekend. With support from Hy-Vee, the weekend combines exhilarating, wheel-to-wheel action with world-class music at the “Fastest Short Track on the Planet.”

The final race before the Summer Olympics break takes the NTT INDYCAR SERIES back to the Streets of Toronto on Sunday, July 21. Peacock again will provide exclusive coverage of the fan-favorite event as the INDYCAR SERIES races around Exhibition Place and Princes’ Gates for the 38th time in Canada’s largest city.

Fast, Fantastic Finish

The 2024 season finishes with a flurry as it features five races – including three on ovals – in five weeks. Beginning on the World Wide Technology Raceway oval, the NTT INDYCAR SERIES homestretch races out of the gates Saturday night, Aug. 17 on USA Network. The expected start time will take the brash and bold INDYCAR SERIES stars under the lights on the 1.25-mile track.

A week later on USA Network, INDYCAR returns to the West Coast and races Sunday, Aug. 25 at Portland International Raceway for the 30th time. In 2023, races at both WWT Raceway and PIR featured the most on-track passes on record at those facilities.

The new Labor Day weekend doubleheader at the Milwaukee Mile will air on Peacock on Saturday Aug. 31 and USA Network on Sunday, Sept. 1 before the spotlight shifts to the Streets of Nashville for the season finale Sunday, Sept. 15 on NBC and Peacock.

The new 2.17-mile, seven-turn circuit in Nashville still incorporates the iconic Korean War Veterans Memorial Bridge but adds views of the Country Music Hall of Fame and world-famous honky tonk row. For the first time, the NTT INDYCAR SERIES champion will be crowned and celebrated as part of the marquee Big Machine Music City Grand Prix weekend, which will include a massive Broadway street party that only Nashville can throw.

Previously announced, the 2024 season awards ceremony will also take place in the Music City, on Monday, Sept. 16 at the beautiful Schermerhorn Symphony Center.

“2023 was a record-breaking season for the NTT INDYCAR SERIES,” INDYCAR President Jay Frye said. “For the first time, 27 starters competed at each event, and on-track passing records were broken at six racetracks. INDYCAR remains the most diverse and competitive championship in motorsports. We cannot wait to see how the 2024 season plays out beginning on the Streets of St. Pete.”

The INDYCAR Radio Network again will provide audio coverage of all NTT INDYCAR SERIES sessions via SiriusXM Channel 160 and the INDYCAR App powered by NTT DATA.

Start times for the 2024 events will be announced at a later date.

2024 NTT INDYCAR SERIES SCHEDULE

Date Venue

Sunday, March 10 - Streets of St. Petersburg

Sunday, March 24 - The Thermal Club $1 Million Challenge*

Sunday, April 21 - Streets of Long Beach

Sunday, April 28 - Barber Motorsports Park

Saturday, May 11 - Indianapolis Motor Speedway (road course)

Saturday, May 18 - Indianapolis 500 Qualifying Day 1

Sunday, May 19 - Indianapolis 500 Qualifying Day 2

Sunday, May 26 - Indianapolis Motor Speedway (oval)

Sunday, June 2 - Streets of Detroit

Sunday, June 9 - Road America

Sunday, June 23 - WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca

Sunday, July 7 - Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course

Saturday, July 13 - Iowa Speedway Race 1

Sunday, July 14 - Iowa Speedway Race 2

Sunday, July 21 - Streets of Toronto

Saturday, Aug. 17 - World Wide Technology Raceway

Sunday, Aug. 25 - Portland International Raceway

Saturday, Aug. 31 - Milwaukee Mile Race 1

Sunday, Sept. 1 - Milwaukee Mile Race 2

Sunday, Sept. 15 - Streets of Nashville

*Non-points event

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Historic Indy Car Challenge Added to 2024 Race Weekend!

September 14, 2023

The 2024 Acura Grand Prix of Long Beach will reflect on its racing history when the Indy cars of the past take the green flag in the Historic Indy Car Challenge during the April 19-21 race weekend. 

Twin 20-minute races will run Saturday, April 20 along with the IMSA WeatherTech Championship race and Sunday, April 21, the same day as the NTT INDYCAR SERIES race.

Long Beach famously switched from Formula 1 to Indy cars in 1984 and the inaugural winner was Mario Andretti, who would go on to win “America’s #1 Street Race” twice more in Indy cars (1985 and ’87). Also in the 1980s, Al Unser Jr. began his reign as “King of the Beach,” with wins in 1988 and ’89, on his way to an incredible six victories in eight years and remains the all-time leader in Long Beach wins. Michael Andretti (1986) also earned his first career win during that period.

The historic event at Long Beach will be sanctioned by the Historic Motor Sports Association (HMSA).

“When I first wanted to invite the historic Indy cars, I was thinking about the first - and only - time I saw the turbine car at Riverside. It just blew my mind,” recalled HMSA President Cris Vandagriff. “This is our opportunity to bring Indy cars that haven’t been seen on the West Coast since then, and I’m looking forward to it.”

“What a thrill it will be to see and hear these fabulous historic Indy cars competing again on our downtown circuit next April,” said Grand Prix Association of Long Beach President and CEO Jim Michaelian. “For many this will be a first-time experience and for others it will certainly bring back delightful memories.”

The 2024 Acura Grand Prix of Long Beach race weekend will be led by the third rounds of the NTT INDYCAR SERIES on Sunday, April 21 and IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship on Saturday, April 20. Support races will include two rounds of SRO America’s GT America, Robby Gordon’s Stadium SUPER Trucks, the Super Drift Challenge on Friday and Saturday nights, and Historic Indy Car Challenge.

Off the track and free to all race attendees will be the popular Lifestyle Expo with more than 100 exhibitors offering the latest products and services in automotive, travel, home improvement, green power, fitness and recreation as well as the large Family Fun Zone in the Long Beach Arena. There will also be concerts, food trucks, exotic car displays and a wide variety of activities for the whole family.

Fans that attended the Acura Grand Prix of Long Beach in 2023 will have the opportunity to renew their ticket orders for 2024 starting Monday, Oct. 9. On Nov. 13, Acura Grand Prix tickets will go on sale to the public.

Ticket prices range from $40 for a Friday General Admission ticket to $185 for a three-day ticket that includes Sat./Sun. reserved seating in grandstand upper levels.  Pre-paid parking packages are also available, along with handicapped seating, NTT INDYCAR SERIES Paddock passes, Super Photo tickets and a wide variety of hospitality packages.

Fans can also follow the 2024 Acura Grand Prix of Long Beach by downloading the Official app on the Apple App Store or Google Play for Android, or tune in via social channels on Facebook (GrandPrixLB), X (formerly Twitter) @GPLongBeach (#AGPLB) and Instagram @GPLongBeach.

About HMSA

The Historic Motor Sports Association (HMSA) is one of the most respected historic racing organizations in North America, producing world-class spectator events across the continent. HMSA emphasizes the preservation and proper use of world-class historic racecars at all of its events. For more information, please visit www.hmsausa.com.

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GT America Powered by AWS Added to 2024 Acura Grand Prix!

August 28, 2023

SRO America’s GT America Powered by AWS is set to supercharge the racing menu when the 200-MPH Beach Party® Returns at the 49th Acura Grand Prix of Long Beach next April 19-21.

Now in its third season, GT America hearkens to the history of single-driver GT sprint racing while providing a home to some of the most modern race cars in SRO's portfolio. The series features a single-driver, 40-minute sprint format, that includes GT3, GT2 and GT4 machinery. Makes such as Acura, Audi, Aston Martin, BMW, Ferrari, Maserati, McLaren, Porsche and Toyota are represented on the GT America grid.

“This will be an exciting addition to our weekend race lineup in 2024,” said Grand Prix Association of Long Beach President & CEO Jim Michaelian. “GT America brings a very competitive series with well-known marques that our fans are sure to recognize. It rounds out a diverse slate of racing that is sure to keep everybody at the edge of their seats all weekend.”

“World Challenge has enjoyed a storied history on the Streets of Long Beach and we are excited to bring back GT sprint racing with GT America powered by AWS to Southern California,” said SRO Motorsports America President & CEO Greg Gill. “The Acura Grand Prix of Long Beach is a bucket-list event and our teams and drivers enjoy the challenge of its street course.”

The 2024 Acura Grand Prix of Long Beach race weekend will be led by the third rounds of the NTT INDYCAR SERIES on Sunday, April 21 and IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship on Saturday, April 20. Support races will include two rounds of GT America, Robby Gordon’s Stadium SUPER Trucks, the Super Drift Challenge on Friday and Saturday nights, and a vintage race sanctioned by the Historic Motor Sports Association (HMSA).

Off the track and free to all race attendees will be the popular Lifestyle Expo with more than 100 exhibitors offering the latest products and services in automotive, travel, home improvement, green power, fitness and recreation as well as the large Family Fun Zone in the Long Beach Arena. There will also be concerts, food trucks, exotic car displays and a wide variety of activities for the whole family.

Fans that attended the Acura Grand Prix of Long Beach in 2023 will have the opportunity to renew their ticket orders for 2024 starting Monday, Oct. 9. On Nov. 13, Acura Grand Prix tickets will go on sale to the general public.

Ticket prices range from $40 for a Friday General Admission ticket to $185 for a three-day ticket that includes Sat./Sun. reserved seating in grandstand upper levels. Pre-paid parking packages are also available, along with handicapped seating, NTT INDYCAR SERIES Paddock passes, Super Photo tickets and a wide variety of hospitality packages.

Fans can also follow the 2024 Acura Grand Prix of Long Beach on Facebook (GrandPrixLB), Twitter @GPLongBeach (#AGPLB) and Instagram @GPLongBeach.

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Long Beach Third Race on 2024 IMSA Calendar; GTP and GTD Classes Confirmed!

August 5, 2023

The 2024 WeatherTech Championship schedule was announced August 4, and the Acura Grand Prix of Long Beach is slated to once again be the third race on the series' calendar, after Daytona and Sebring.

The IMSA race at Long Beach on Saturday, April 20, will feature two classes of sports cars in 2024: GT Prototype (GTP) and GT Daytona (GTD) in a 100-minute "sprint" to the finish.

The calendar is also highlighted by the addition of a fifth IMSA Michelin Endurance Cup event, a return to the Motor City after a one-year absence and a total of six events that will feature all four classes, one event in which the LMP2 class will compete for overall victory and one GT-only round.

The 2024 campaign will open as usual on the final weekend of January as the eyes of the motorsport world once again will be focused on Daytona International Speedway for the 62nd Rolex 24 At Daytona on the weekend of Jan. 25-28. The twice-around-the-clock battle will award WeatherTech Championship points for all four participating classes – GTP, LMP2, GTD PRO and GTD – marking the first time since the 2019 season that the event will count for WeatherTech Championship points in the LMP2 class. 

The Rolex 24 At Daytona also serves as the kick-off to what will be a five-race Michelin Endurance Cup season. The Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring occupies its traditional slot in the third weekend of March with the 72nd rendition slated for the weekend of March 13-16. The Sahlen’s Six Hours of The Glen brings endurance racing back to New York’s Finger Lakes region on the weekend of June 27-30 for the third Michelin Endurance Cup race of the season.

The new addition to the Michelin Endurance Cup in 2024 is an expansion of the race at Indianapolis Motor Speedway to six hours on the weekend of Sept. 20-22. The endurance race at IMS was widely expected since last summer’s announcement of the WeatherTech Championship’s return to the Speedway for a two-hour and 40-minute race at IMS next month. It will be the series’ first visit to Indianapolis since 2014.

The 2024 WeatherTech Championship and Michelin Endurance Cup season will wrap up at Michelin Raceway Road Atlanta on the weekend of Oct. 9-12 with the 10-hour Motul Petit Le Mans.

The WeatherTech Championship’s return to Detroit comes via a 100-minute race featuring the GTP and GTD PRO classes, which will compete in a 100-minute battle on Saturday, June 1. The series previously raced on Detroit’s Belle Isle circuit through the 2022 season but next year will be its first time on the city’s downtown street circuit, which hosted the IMSA Michelin Pilot Challenge GS class in 2023.

Detroit will the other 100-minute sprint race on city streets in 2024. WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca will feature a two-hour and 40-minute battle involving the GTP, GTD PRO and GTD classes on Sunday, May 12.

Road America will host the only two-hour and 40-minute sprint event to include all four WeatherTech Championship classes as GTP, LMP2, GTD PRO and GTD are set to return to the Kettle Moraine on Sunday, Aug. 4. VIRginia International Raceway will host the lone GT-only WeatherTech Championship race in 2024 with a two-hour and 40-minute contest set for Sunday, Aug. 25.

The GTD PRO and GTD classes each will compete in 10 races in 2024, with nine scheduled for the GTP class and seven for LMP2.

The Roar Before the Rolex 24 also returns as the official warm-up for the 2024 season at Daytona International Speedway on the weekend of Jan. 19-21.

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Kirkwood Drives to First Career Victory!

April 16, 2023

Kyle Kirkwood sealed the deal.

Kirkwood earned his first NTT INDYCAR SERIES victory Sunday by winning the Acura Grand Prix of Long Beach from the pole in the No. 27 AutoNation Honda. The win came in Kirkwood’s 20th career start and third with Andretti Autosport, which he joined after driving for AJ Foyt Racing as a rookie in 2022.

“This is amazing, man,” Kirkwood said. “What a day. The calmest day I’ve had in two years, and it was a win.

“I was so happy with just the pole yesterday, but I’m over the moon right now. This is incredible for the whole team. We had a stellar day for the whole team with Andretti Autosport.”

Andretti Autosport teammate Romain Grosjean finished second in the No. 28 DHL Honda, .9907 of a second behind Kirkwood. It was the first 1-2 finish for Andretti Autosport since Colton Herta, Alexander Rossi and Ryan Hunter-Reay swept all three podium spots at the second race at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course in September 2020.

2022 Indianapolis 500 presented by Gainbridge winner Marcus Ericsson rounded out the podium finishers in the No. 8 Huski Chocolate Chip Ganassi Racing Honda and took the championship lead by 15 points over Pato O’Ward, who finished 17th in the No. 5 Arrow McLaren Chevrolet.

Southern California native Herta finished fourth at his home race in the No. 26 Gainbridge Honda to help Andretti Autosport take first, second and fourth as its resurgence continues early this season. 2021 series champion Alex Palou placed fifth in the No. 10 Ridgeline Lubricants Honda, as he and Ericsson drove Chip Ganassi Racing to two of the top five spots. There were 253 on-track passes, the most at Long Beach since INDYCAR started tracking passes at the famed street circuit in 2009.

Florida native Kirkwood entered the series last season in the tire tracks of becoming the first driver to sweep titles in USF2000, USF Pro 2000 and INDY NXT by Firestone in successive seasons. But he had an incident-filled rookie season with the Foyt team and ended up 24th in the championship, the second-lowest full-time driver in the standings.

The first two races of this season also were rocky for Kirkwood, 24. He finished 15th in the season-opening Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg presented by RP Funding and was eliminated by a mechanical problem from the PPG 375 at Texas Motor Speedway in 27th place.

But Kirkwood put everything together this weekend on the sun-splashed streets of the 11-turn, 1.968-mile temporary circuit, finally fulfilling the huge promise he showed throughout the junior categories. The win helped him jump from 20th to fifth in the championship standings.

“I just had a moment of relaxation (after crossing the finish line), to be honest,” Kirkwood said. “I felt like I needed this win, and we got it today. A moment of relief, no doubt.”

Said team owner Michael Andretti: “He’s the real deal. We knew it a long time ago when he won the championship for us in the INDY NXT series. We knew he was something special.”

Kirkwood led 53 of 85 laps and took the lead for good on Lap 56.

Reigning event winner Josef Newgarden had pitted from the lead under green in the No. 2 Hitachi Team Penske Chevrolet on Lap 52, with Grosjean entering the pits for the final time from second on Lap 53. Kirkwood followed suit on Lap 54 and was able to exit the pits comfortably on front of Newgarden and Grosjean.

When Palou made his final stop on Lap 55, Kirkwood cycled back to the lead. Grosjean kept his teammate honest over the closing 30 laps, lingering within about a second for most of the time. But Grosjean had to conserve fuel due to stopping a lap earlier than Kirkwood and couldn’t use his available, but fuel-gulping, push-to-pass until the final lap. By then, it was too late.

“It’s awesome for Kyle; I’m happy for him,” Grosjean said. “I wish I was in his position right now, but he drove a hell of a race, like a champ, the whole weekend. He deserved that. We tried everything we could on our end, but it was a fuel situation, so we couldn’t really attack.”

Still, like Kirkwood, the podium finish was a needed shot of redemption for Grosjean. He finished 18th and 14th in the first two races, eliminated in accidents in both.

Newgarden led 27 laps after starting eighth but also had to conserve fuel down the stretch and faded to ninth place at the finish.

Kirkwood will split $10,000 with Andretti Autosport and his chosen charity, AutoNation DRVPNK, for his victory as part of the PeopleReady Force For Good Challenge.

The next event of the 2023 NTT INDYCAR SERIES season is the Children’s of Alabama Indy Grand Prix on Sunday, April 30 at Barber Motorsports Park in Birmingham, Alabama.

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Acura Grand Prix Concludes With A Honda Sweep, Continuation Of The Andretti Family Tradition And A Feast For The Fans!

April 16, 2023

A bright blue sky emerged just as the US Navy’s F/A-18 fighter jets roared above Shoreline Drive to signal the start of the 48th Annual Acura Grand Prix of Long Beach’s main event. That set the stage for a sunny day for NTT INDYCAR SERIES driver Kyle Kirkwood, Honda Racing, the Andretti family tradition and the fans.

Kirkwood of Andretti Autosport won his first INDYCAR race, a feat that brought back some very happy memories for team owner Michael Andretti, who in 1986 earned his first (and, in 2002, his final) INDYCAR victory on this very track.

The Andretti legend at Long Beach began when Michael’s father Mario won in 1977 in the race’s infancy, putting the event on the worldwide map as a premier motorsports event. Mario went on to win three more times here.

“There’s so many things we’ve done at Long Beach,” Michael said almost searching for words to express his overflowing emotions. “It’s all just very special for us.”

“I watched this race as a kid,” Kirkwood said. “I’m going to let it soak in for a while.”

Honda Racing will also let it soak in, as it took not just the win but the top five places. It was a dominating performance for the Torrance-based manufacturer on its home track.

The day began with a flashback to the past with the Historic F1 Challenge featuring some Formula 1 cars that race here in the pre-INDYCAR days, including Mario’s black Lotus that propelled him to that landmark ‘77 victory. It ended with the ramp-jumping SPEED/ UTV Stadium SUPER Trucks and the Porsche Carrera North America Cup race.  

The fans let the day soak in, too, seasoned ones as well as Grand Prix rookies. “Cheering for our ‘pretty in pink’ car!!” one stated while experiencing the GP for the first time from her perch in grandstand 27.

Throughout the day the fans feasted on the racing action, the food, the drinks and the overall scene of the Grand Prix that has made this an annual mark-your-calendars event in Southern California.

All of which has everyone looking forward to the 49th Acura Grand Prix of Long Beach, which will take place April 19-21.

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Porsche Scores First GTP Class Victory; Lexus and BMW Get Class Wins

April 15, 2023

The first sprint race of the new Grand Touring Prototype (GTP) era for the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship produced intense competition between multiple manufacturers, daring strategy, a thrilling finish and a historical first victory in the category for Porsche Penske Motorsport.

Nick Tandy kept the No. 6 Porsche 963 within striking distance of pole winner Filipe Albuquerque (No. 10 Konica Minolta Acura ARX-06) in the opening stint of Saturday’s Acura Grand Prix of Long Beach. The Acura made its only scheduled pit stop just over 40 minutes into the 1-hour, 40-minute timed race, changing to a fresh set of Michelin tires for co-driver Ricky Taylor.

The Porsche stopped a lap later, and crucially, did not take on new tires. That left Mathieu Jaminet, who took over for Tandy, and Porsche Penske Motorsport’s No. 7 car shared by Felipe Nasr and Matt Campbell running 1-2. They enjoyed a comfortable cushion but were entering uncharted territory in terms of tire degradation and wear.

Still, it was worth the gamble because the Porsche drivers didn’t believe they had the ability to win the race on pure speed.

“We kind of knew from practice and qualifying that our pace was probably not going to win us a race,” Tandy related. “We wanted to try something different, and one of our options was to try and negate the tire warm-up issue that many teams have had in GTP this year, so we went with no tires.

“What we didn’t know was how the tire was going to end up over the last 40 minutes because nobody had run the tire that long.”

Sure enough, the Porsches began experiencing significant rear tire wear in the closing laps. Campbell cleanly defended second place, at one point losing the left rear wing endplate after contact from Taylor’s Acura. He got a slight reprieve when Taylor brushed the Turn 8 wall with 13 minutes remaining, but Taylor recovered and passed Campbell for second place with nine minutes to go and a seven-second deficit to the leader.

Jaminet got caught in traffic with under three minutes remaining, allowing Taylor to close right up. Time for two dramatic laps.

The Acura drafted the Porsche down Shoreline Drive, drawing level under braking into Turn 1. But Taylor misjudged the maneuver and skidded wide into a tire barrier while third-place runner Connor de Phillippi in the No. 25 BMW M Team RLL BMW M Hybrid V8 just squeaked past.

With the No. 10 Acura embedded in the tires, the race ended under caution, Jaminet and Tandy celebrating a monumental first win for the Porsche 963. De Phillippi and Nick Yelloly claimed second place in the No. 25 BMW, with Campbell and Nasr completing the podium third in the No. 7.

The win was the eighth in WeatherTech Championship competition for Jaminet and the 19th for Tandy. It was also the 33rd IMSA triumph for the Penske team, the first since WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca in late 2020.

“(Taylor) had fresher tires and after I got caught in traffic with two laps to go, it made sense that he went for it,” Jaminet said. “I braked really late, and I saw him going past. I thought, ‘If he can make it stop, I’ll be impressed.’ I saw him lock up and he went straight in the fence.

“I knew it was going to be very close,” he added. “I just tried to make no mistakes with the traffic. As a team, you need to figure out the opportunities and take what’s there when it’s in front of you. Today was a real team effort, in the pits and with car No. 7. Everybody can be proud today.”

The Porsche strategy worked well because prior to the finish under yellow, the race featured only one other full-course caution, right at the start when Sebastien Bourdais experienced a braking issue just before Turn 1, spun and contacted the outside wall. Yelloly’s BMW tapped Tom Blomqvist in the No. 60 Meyer Shank Racing with Curb-Agajanian Acura ARX-06 into a spin, putting the outside front row qualifier a lap down.

Albuquerque led the first 30 laps before Jaminet took over at the front for the final 43 tours.

Like the No. 10 Acura, the No. 25 BMW executed a four-tire pit stop and De Phillippi looked racy at the end as he closed on Jaminet and Taylor prior to Taylor’s crash. The No. 24 BMW driven by Philipp Eng and Augusto Farfus finished fourth.

“Nick drove a brilliant first stint and it was clear we had the pace,” De Phillippi said after the No. 25 car’s second consecutive runner-up finish. “We ran a little longer than everyone else to see what they were doing with the tires. We were hoping to have a little better tires at the end – which we did. I’m really proud of the team.”

GTD PRO

Qualifying and strategy are often keys to success in winning the 100-minute Acura Grand Prix of Long Beach. Vasser Sullivan used both to its advantage Saturday to claim the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship GTD PRO class win with Jack Hawksworth and Ben Barnicoat aboard the team’s No. 14 Lexus RC F GT3.

Hawksworth qualified on the GTD PRO class pole position, but second among all GT cars behind GT Daytona (GTD) class polesitter, Marco Sorensen in the No. 27 Heart of Racing Aston Martin Vantage GT3.

The Englishman got around the Dane off the start as the GT field avoided a pair of spinning Grand Touring Prototype (GTP) cars on the first-lap run down to Turn 1. That positioned Hawksworth clear of the GTD class leader as a buffer to the rest of the GTD PRO field, and set up the Vasser Sullivan crew to deliver a pit stop to ensure the car stayed up front once the pit window opened.

Pitting shortly after the 40-minute mark, the last of the three leading GTD PRO contenders to do so, Hawksworth turned over the No. 14 Lexus to co-driver Barnicoat. His countryman brought it home by 2.785 seconds to take this car’s third win in the last six GTD PRO races, dating to 2022 (Road America, Motul Petit Le Mans). The win is Hawksworth’s 10th in the WeatherTech Championship and Barnicoat’s fourth. The car led all 73 laps of the race, as well.

“Perfect weekend for us, really,” Hawksworth said. “One of the best executed races we’ve been a part of. It was good to clear Sorensen off the start, and that put our Lexus RC F GT3 up at the front. Had an amazing pit stop and then Ben drove his tail off from there.”

The win is a banner one for the Vasser Sullivan team, co-owned by James “Sulli” Sullivan and Jimmy Vasser. It’s the team’s first street course victory since Hawksworth and Richard Heistand won at Detroit in 2019. Vasser’s got a third Long Beach win now, having won as an owner with Will Power in the Champ Car finale in 2008 and as an IndyCar driver in 1996.

With finishes of third, second and first to start the 2023 season, the No. 14 pairing is in good position to contend for the GTD PRO class championship. Unofficially, the No. 14 pair lead the No. 79 WeatherTech Racing Mercedes-AMG GT3 pairing of Jules Gounon and Daniel Juncadella by 73 points.

Behind the Lexus, Corvette Racing finished second with Jordan Taylor and Antonio Garcia sharing the No. 3 Corvette Racing C8.R GTD. Pfaff Motorsports completed the podium with Patrick Pilet and Klaus Bachler in the No. 9 Porsche 911 GT3 R (992).

Taylor made his way past Bachler in the second stage of the race, and the forceful pass was reviewed with no disciplinary action from race officials. Taylor and Bachler both put on late charges, Taylor on Barnicoat and Bachler on Taylor, but neither made a move past their rival in front.

After both cars’ 2022 Long Beach race was sabotaged by a freak incident when a wayward Corvette wheel nut leapt into and punctured the Pfaff Porsche’s radiator on a pit stop, both cars were back on the podium Saturday.

GTD

“Starting P3 on a street course isn’t a terrible place to start. We’re here to win.”

Words from Madison Snow after Friday qualifying proved prescient as he and Bryan Sellers prepared to win their third straight Long Beach GTD race in the No. 1 Paul Miller Racing BMW M4 GT3 from third place on the starting grid.

With a team known for executing excellent strategic moves and pit stops from the box, the No. 1 car vaulted from that third place to first after the only pit stop of the race. For that, the team’s third straight win in Long Beach’s 100-minute race was achieved.

The pivotal moment in class came after the 35-minute minimum drive time window opened for GTD teams to switch drivers. With 65 minutes remaining in the race, Sorensen (No. 27 Heart of Racing Team Aston Martin), Frankie Montecalvo (No. 12 Vasser Sullivan Lexus RC F GT3) and Mike Skeen (No. 32 Team Korthoff Motorsports Mercedes-AMG GT3) all dipped into Long Beach’s long, winding and curved pit lane for the driver change.

Snow stayed out a lap later on an overcut, with the pressure now on the PMR crew to ensure a clean handoff from Snow to Sellers and exit ahead of the No. 27. The BMW came back onto the track just ahead of the Aston Martin.

From there, all Sellers had to do was keep the hard-charging Roman De Angelis – and the rest of the GTD contenders – behind him to ensure the victory.

“Certainly, everyone that’s been up here has talked about track position and how hard it is to pass,” Sellers said. “Our race was decided in the pits. I think were three or so seconds faster than the Aston in the pits. Madison had two really good in laps, which were key. We reviewed the race from last year.”

The win is Sellers’ 16th and Snow’s 11th in IMSA and their second straight in 2023 after also claiming the Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring victory. It also marks one year since Sellers and Snow delivered the first BMW M4 GT3 win in the WeatherTech Championship.

Sorensen and De Angelis finished second in their No. 27 Aston Martin, 4.468 seconds in arrears, with Montecalvo and Aaron Telitz third in the No. 12 Vasser Sullivan Lexus.

The No. 1 pair of Sellers and Snow unofficially leads the No. 27 pair of De Angelis and Sorensen by 99 points after three races, with Montecalvo, Telitz and the No. 12 Lexus just one point farther back.

The next round of the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship is the Motul Course de Monterey Powered by Hyundai N, May 12-14 at WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca.

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Day 2 Report: NTT INDYCAR SERIES Grid Set, IMSA Puts On A Show and Fans Are The Real Winners!

April 15, 2023

The grid is set, winners have been to Victory Circle and fans continued to pour into the facility.

Kyle Kirkwood is on the pole for Sunday’s featured NTT INDYCAR SERIES race. The debut of the GTP class of the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship race ended with a thrilling finish. The SPEED/UTV Stadium Super Trucks banged and jumped; the Porsche Carrera Cup cars raced; Super Drift thrilled and Historic F1 cars brought some of the event’s past back to the present, loud and clear.

Saturday was another full day at the 2023 Acura Grand Prix of Long Beach, a 200 mph beach party on a glorious and sunny Southern California day.

There was certainly plenty to see. And hear.

The Grand Prix is known as the “Roar By The Shore” and for good reason. Each of the six racing series provides different ranges of engine noises – the high pitch of the vintage F1 cars, the deep-throated sounds of IMSA, the whirring power of the Indy cars, for instance – and DJs blast music from all over the facility, including from some sponsor tents selling refreshments that are synonymous with this grand event.

From the Lifestyle Expo to “Main Street” outside the Long Beach Arena, to the grandstands, to the huge area by the marina and all along the promenade, fans basked in the atmosphere that has earned this event the title of “Monaco of the West.”

Those with a paddock pass got an unexpected bonus when Mario Andretti popped out of the Andretti Autosport trailer. Not only did they get up close to the racing legend and four-time Long Beach winner, but some got his autograph.

All-star rock band Kings Of Chaos provided the final soundtrack of the day during the free Saturday night concert, along with the Super Drift Challenge which held its final competition at night.

On Sunday, the gates open at 7:30 a.m., the INDYCAR morning warmup taking place at 9 a.m.; the pageantry of pre-race ceremonies – which includes Anaheim Ducks star forward Adam Henrique as Grand Marshal, CW star Grant Gustin of “The Flash,” the National Anthem performed by Tim Kepler of the Ducks and LA Angels, an F/A-18 fighter jet flyover, and Golden Knights parachute team starts at 11:48 a.m., with the green flag at 12:45 p.m. The day wraps up with the Stadium Super Trucks racing at 3:30 p.m. with the Porsche Carrera Cup at 4:20 p.m.

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Acura Goes 1-2 in IMSA WeatherTech Qualifying!

April 14, 2023

The IMSA WeatherTech Sports Car Championship is famous for multiclass racing.

Friday on the 1.968-mile Long Beach street course, Filipe Albuquerque and Acura were in a class by themselves.

Albuquerque clocked a lap of 1 minute, 9.909 seconds (101.343 mph) in the No. 10 Konica Minolta Acura ARX-06 to claim the Motul Pole Award for the Acura Grand Prix of Long Beach. It was the Portuguese driver’s fourth career IMSA pole and the first of both the 2023 season and the WeatherTech Championship’s new Grand Touring Prototype (GTP) era for Albuquerque and Wayne Taylor Racing with Andretti Autosport.

Tom Blomqvist locked up the front row for Acura with the second-fastest qualifying lap, a 1:10.583 (100.375 mph) in the No. 60 Meyer Shank Racing with Curb-Agajanian ARX-06 he shares with Colin Braun.

Acura’s previous prototype, built to Daytona Prototype international (DPi) specifications, tended to struggle on the bumpy Long Beach street course. But Albuquerque was confident that the new ARX-06 he shares with Ricky Taylor would be more competitive than its predecessor.

His confidence was justified as the pair of Acuras displayed a significant speed advantage in the two practice sessions earlier in the day, and that strong performance carried over into qualifying.

After starting the season with 24- and 12-hour endurance contests, the 100-minute Long Beach race opens the sprint portion of the WeatherTech Championship schedule.

“The last two years we were always suffering here, but statistics in the first two races this year showed we are really competitive,” Albuquerque said. “But I must say I was not expecting to be so competitive compared to the competitors – especially the Cadillac. (The Cadillac) has no turbo engine, so putting the power down is a strong point for that car. But obviously they are struggling with something.

“At the end of the day, it’s about ticking all the boxes on a complex car that everybody is still learning about,” he added. “I think the communication between Honda Performance Development and the teams is going fantastic and smooth. We did the homework, and it’s paying off. I’m super happy about it.”

Defending Long Beach winner Sebastien Bourdais set the early pace in the 20-minute qualifying session in the No. 01 Cadillac Racing Cadillac V-Series.R before Albuquerque became the first driver to break into the 1-minute, 11-second bracket.

Blomqvist briefly took the top spot with a 1:10.720 with five minutes remaining, only for Albuquerque to quickly reestablish his dominance with three consecutive quickest laps, topped by the only sub-1:10 lap of the day.

He revealed that he ran eight consecutive hours in HPD’s simulator in Brownsburg, Indiana, last week in preparation for Long Beach.

“No food, nothing to eat, just covering all that we needed to do,” he said.

“When we were building this car, we definitely tried to put on paper why we were struggling in the past at Long Beach and Sebring,” Albuquerque added. “And we made it right. When you’re looking at your performance, you focus on your weaknesses. I’m just happy the work we all did is paying off. It was a lot of hours.”

Bourdais posted a 1:10.981 lap (99.812 mph) to claim the third qualifying position but was still more than a second behind Albuquerque. He was followed by the two BMW M Hybrid V8s prepared by BMW M Team RLL.

GTD PRO

The last time Jack Hawksworth collected a Motul Pole Award in the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship, it led to a race win. Hawksworth is looking to repeat that scenario in Long Beach this weekend.

The 32-year-old Brit pushed the No. 14 Vasser Sullivan Lexus RC F GT3 to a Grand Touring Daytona Pro (GTD PRO) track record in qualifying Friday on the 11-turn, 1.968-mile temporary street. With a best lap of 1 minute, 17.817 seconds (91.044 mph), Hawksworth eclipsed the previous GTD PRO standard set last year by Jordan Taylor by nearly a quarter-second and will head the five-car class field to the green flag in the 100-minute sprint race.

“Really happy with that,” said Hawksworth, who was the second-fastest overall GT qualifier to Sorensen in the No. 27 Heart of Racing Team Aston Martin Vantage GT3. “The boys have done a mega job the last couple of days. We kind of struggled at this track in the past but the car’s been on rails ever since we got here.”

Hawksworth earned his ninth career WeatherTech Championship pole position and first at Long Beach. His last pole came in the 2022 season-ending Motul Petit Le Mans at Michelin Raceway Road Atlanta, where he and co-drivers Ben Barnicoat and Kyle Kirkwood went on to win the race, completing a four-race stretch to close the season where they won twice and finished third twice.

They’ve carried that momentum into 2023, placing third in the Rolex 24 At Daytona and second at the Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring. Hawksworth believes he and Barnicoat are positioned to take that next step to the top of the podium Saturday after realizing the improvements in the Lexus from past Long Beach visits.

“It was really good to come back here and see the work that the guys have done,” he said. “We really concentrated on trying to extract performance from the car, and the minute we rolled off the truck, the car fit in the window.

“We did a lot of race running today (in practice) and we felt really good in terms of consistency and (tire) degradation,” Hawksworth added. “We feel good about tomorrow, but you just never know until you go racing, right? But we’re in good shape.”

Defending race winner Ross Gunn qualified second in GTD PRO at 1:17.958 (90.879 mph) in the No. 23 Heart of Racing Team Aston Martin Vantage GT3 ahead of third-place qualifier Patrick Pilet in the No. 9 Pfaff Motorsports Porsche 911 GT3 R (992), who posted a best lap of 1:18.083 (90.734 mph). Pilet and co-driver Klaus Bachler are going for their second consecutive victory after winning last month’s Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring.

GTD

Marco Sorensen set the bar pretty high for his first qualifying attempt on the streets of Long Beach, and his first street circuit qualifying in a Grand Touring car.

The Dane took the No. 27 Heart of Racing Team Aston Martin Vantage GT3 to a new outright GTD category record lap of 1 minute 17.811 seconds (91.051 mph), to put a GT Daytona (GTD) class car at the front of all 20 GT cars. This is Sorensen’s first IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship pole position.

Sorensen was one of three who beat the previous GTD PRO mark of 1 minute 18.048 seconds (90.774 mph) set by Jordan Taylor, and one of four who eclipsed the previous GTD mark of 1 minute 18.487 seconds (90.267 mph) set by Madison Snow. Both of those were set last year.

“To be honest, with it being the first time for me here in Long Beach, I’m a bit surprised we pulled this off,” said Sorensen, who shares the No. 27 Aston Martin with Roman De Angelis. “I really enjoy street circuits. They get adrenaline going again in the system and it’s so good to get the pole.”

Frankie Montecalvo (No. 12 Vasser Sullivan Lexus RC F GT3), Snow (No. 1 Paul Miller Racing BMW M4 GT3) and Mike Skeen (No. 32 Team Korthoff Motorsports Mercedes-AMG GT3) also beat Snow’s 2022 pole mark in Friday’s qualifying session and will start second through fourth in the 15-car GTD class field.

The 15-minute qualifying session came to an early end with a red flag within the final minute for separate incidents at Turn 8. Ashton Harrison (No. 93 Racers Edge Motorsports with WTR Acura NSX GT3) and PJ Hyett (No. 80 AO Racing Porsche 911 GT3 R (992)) both hit the concrete retaining wall exiting the corner, although both drivers got out of their cars.

The Acura Grand Prix of Long Beach airs live from 5-7 p.m. ET Saturday on USA Network, Peacock and IMSA Radio.

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Day 1 Report – Big Crowd, Exciting Events Mark the Day Under Sunny Skies at the Grand Prix!

April 14, 2023

It was a fast Friday at the Acura Grand Prix of Long Beach as cars roared down Shoreline Drive and the whole spectacle of the event kicked into full gear.  

It began when the first cars turned their first wheels on the famous street track and fans cruised through the entrances, some ready to enter before the gates even opened in the morning.

Throughout the day, people lined up for autograph sessions – including those from the NTT INDYCAR SERIES drivers – walked through the Lifestyle Expo looking at the cars and vendor booths, browsed and bought merchandise, took full advantage of all the food and drink options and took out their cellphones to get photos and videos of themselves and the fast-moving cars. Kids really enjoyed the Fun Zone, especially bouncing on the inflatables.

Not only that but the clouds and mist from earlier in the week succumbed to sunshine and shirt-sleeve weather typical of Grand Prix weekend.

All six racing organizations taking part in the Acura Grand Prix saw action on Friday. In the NTT INDYCAR SERIES, which had a late afternoon practice session, the personable Pato O’Ward led the pack, followed by Scott Dixon, Colton Herta, Marcus Ericsson and Alexander Rossi in the top 5. You can find all the results and times at the IndyCar website.

When daytime transformed into the evening, Mexican-American DJ and producer Boombox Cartel was booming tunes during the free concert at the same time the Super Drift Challenge drivers were challenging for the win in the first of its two weekend showcase events. Saturday, the music is from all-star rock band Kings Of Chaos.

Rome Charpentier, coming off a second-place run at the Formula Drift season-opener, took Super Drift Challenge #1 over two-time defending champ Forrest Wang.

On Saturday, the gates open at 7:30 a.m., with a full day that includes the first of two Historic F1 Challenge races on the weekend (11:20 a.m.),  INDYCAR qualifying at 12:05 p.m., the IMSA WeatherTech Sportscar race at 2 p.m., the first of two weekend races for the SPEED/UTV Stadium Super Trucks (4:30 p.m.) and Porsche Carrera Cup (5:15 p.m.) as well as the final Super Drift Challenge at 7 p.m.

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