What to Know Before the Green Flag Drops on a Weekend of Racing in Long Beach - NBC Southern California

What to Know Before the Green Flag Drops on a Weekend of Racing in Long Beach

The Acura Grand Prix of Long Beach features three days of motorsports and a broad range of race cars

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    NEWSLETTERS

    The first Grand Prix of Long Beach was in 1975. The cars have changed dramatically and there have been a few tweaks to the track, but the thrill of that roar on Shoreline Drive as the green flag drops remains the same.

    This year's event features three days of motorsports action, starting Friday with practice and qualifying. The main event is Sunday with the IndyCar series. Production-based and prototype sports cars also will compete, along with historic race cars, drifters who slide through corners sideways and Stadium Super Trucks that use ramps to soar through the air.

    Here's what to know about the Acura Grand Prix of Long Beach.

    History

    The event's history dates to the mid-1970s, when the powerful and lightweight open-wheel Formula 5000 cars stormed the track in the first Long Beach Grand Prix. Long Beach soon attracted the world's most prestigious series, Formula 1, and its internationally famed drivers and teams. The final F1 race in Long Beach was in 1983, but other forms of racing continued to attract crowds to Shoreline Drive for years to come.

    Tickets

    Tickets can be purchased for single or multiple days, ranging from $33 to $95 for general admission. Weekend reserved seating also is available. Click here for details.

    About the Track

    Racing in Long Beach provides an opportunity to see a broad range of motorsports as drivers carve through the 1.9-mile, 11-turn track where a mistake often means contact with the unforgiving walls lining the course and dramatic changes in position. The cars achieve top speed along Shoreline Boulevard, but most of the action is in the corners, including Turn 1 at the end of that long run down the front straight. Click here for a track map and viewing guide.

    Getting There

    What IMSA Racer Joey Hand Likes About Long Beach

    [LA] What IMSA Racer Joey Hand Likes About Long Beach

    Driver Joey Hand explains the ins and outs of the Ford GT, a version of which he'll be racing at the Grand Prix of Long Beach, and what he likes about competing in the event. Christine Kim reports for Today in LA on Tuesday April 2, 2019.

    (Published Tuesday, April 2, 2019)

    There's a Metro Blue Line stop just a few blocks from the track entrance. Streets get busy, especially on Sunday, but there are several parking areas. Click here for details.

    Friday Highlights

    The event in downtown Long Beach opens to the public on Friday with several practice sessions and qualifying events. Paddock areas will be open, offering fans an opportunity to view the cars up close before the weekend crowds arrive.

    What to Watch: Avoid the weekend crowds and take time to browse the paddock area, where mechanics and other race team members will get the cars ready for practice and qualifying sessions, including the IMSA series at 4:45 p.m. You'll see prototype race cars with all manner of aerodynamic features, plus production based racers like Porsches, Corvettes, BMWs and Ford GTs.

    Saturday Highlights

    The IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar series features prototype and production-based racers competing in different classes on track at the same time. It also has some of the most skilled and competitive drivers around.

    What to Watch: The IMSA race begins at 2:06 p.m. It is 100 minutes of close-quarters racing with little room for error on Long Beach's tight street circuit. Stick around for the historic IMSA GTO race at 5 p.m. Memorable sports cars from the 1970s and 1980s will turn laps, turning back the clock to a celebrate era.

    Sunday Highlights

    The weekend draws to a close with the main event Sunday afternoon -- the Acura Grand Prix of Long Beach. This is the fourth race of the season on one of the schedule's most challenging tracks.

    What to Watch: The green flag is scheduled to drop on at 1:42 p.m. on the IndyCar series race. Arriving early is a good idea, not only to beat traffic. You can catch the Pirelli GT4 America Race at 10 a.m. Names like Audi, BMW, Chevy Camaro, Ford Mustang, McLaren 570, Mercedes-AMG, Panoz Avezzano and Porsche Cayman are part of this highly competitive sports car series.

    Click here for the full schedule.

    There are also events off the track. Click here for details on concerts and the Lifestyle Expo.

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