Long Beach's World-Famous Street Race

The Toyota Grand Prix is set to welcome star drivers, 200k fans.

By Alysia Gray Painter
|  Thursday, Apr 18, 2013  |  Updated 9:57 AM PDT
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Long Beach's World-Famous Street Race

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LONG BEACH, CA - APRIL 15: Ryan Briscoe of Australia drives the Team Penske Dallara Chevrolet during the IndyCar Series Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach on the streets of Long Beach on April 15, 2012 in Long Beach, California. (Photo by Jeff Gross/Getty Images)

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Whenever there's a film requiring some sleek machines to vroom by each other at over 90 miles an hour on city streets, the movie very often lands in some place like Monte Carlo and the main driver is very often someone like James Bond.

It can seem all very exotic, but it should not. After all, Southern California is home to one of the planet's most talked-about and best-known street circuit events, an event so large that it attracts over 170,000 spectators and le creme de la creme among people who know how to pedal-to-the-metal it.

The Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach will roll again, at very top speeds, from Friday, April 19 through Sunday, April 21. As with past grand prix weeks, the photo ops and specialty races and fan events start early and keep going all week long. Then, starting on Friday of Grand Prix Weekend? Concerts and family fun zones and pit stop demos and the humongous Lifestyle Expo and an exotic car paddock and the multiple happenings that surround the races kick in.

It's such an expansive, large-scale event that it is hard to overstate the choices and offerings of the weekend, both the car buff and the person who isn't at all interested in automotive pursuits.

If you're going, you absolutely need to study this.

If you're not going, but you want to avoid the mega loops and reroutings which are a fact of life in downtown Long Beach during the Toyota Grand Prix, you absolutely need to study this.

And if you're racing, cheers and safe driving! Speeds really can top out in the 90s, on normal, every day roads, roads that usually see drivers hitting 35 mph or 40. Double that, and put a bunch of other fast cars on the streets, and you have one thrill-filled weekend.

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