Track Construction Begins!
LONG BEACH, Calif. (Feb. 11, 2014) -- The 40th Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach, set to take place April 11-13, took its first step toward the green flag when the first full day of construction began this morning on Shoreline Drive, the famed racing circuit’s front straightaway.
The construction got underway with assists from Long Beach Mayor Bob Foster, who appeared at the track for a kickoff photo shoot with Grand Prix Association of Long Beach President and CEO Jim Michaelian. The photo also included the original 1975 Toyota Celica pace car – which paced the first Grand Prix – along with an Indy show car and current Toyota Camry pace car that will pace the 2014 race.
“It’s been a great relationship for 40 years,” said Foster. “I was talking to Jim Michaelian about the first race and how it’s so organized now and probably wasn’t so well organized [in 1975]. The Grand Prix Association does a great job and the weekend itself has something for everybody. Between all the entertainment, the food and the atmosphere, it’s a great weekend. We have great weather and I look forward to it every year. I encourage everybody to come down here for a great family weekend.”
The setting of the first of more than 14 million pounds of concrete blocks that line the track marks the beginning of two months of work preparing for the more than 170,000 fans expected during race weekend.
Grand Prix Association of Long Beach Director of Operations Dwight Tanaka and his staff will put in more than 30,000 working hours installing more than 14 million tons of concrete blocks, four miles of fencing and 16,000 bolted-together tires, along with 16 huge spectator grandstands, seven pedestrian bridges and seven giant vision boards for full-circuit TV coverage.
Tanaka’s staff will also install hospitality suites, tents, electrical equipment, phones, porta-johns, trash containers and a myriad of other things up until race weekend. “Then,” said Tanaka, “Sunday night, when the last race car has left the track, we start to take everything down, inspect and get it ready for next year.”
“We are looking forward to celebrating our 40th Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach with some special activities as well as the usual weekend full of excitement and fun,” said Michaelian. “Just another reason why this is truly America’s number one street race.”
All businesses along the race circuit, which includes Shoreline Drive, Aquarium Way and Pine Ave., will remain open during construction of the racetrack.
The 40th Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach will feature the IndyCar Series, Tequila Patrón Sports Car Showcase with the cars of the TUDOR United SportsCar Championship, Pro/Celebrity Race, Indy Lights Presented by Cooper Tires, Pirelli World Challenge, SPEED Energy Stadium Super Trucks and Motegi Racing Super Drift Challenge.
Fans can select and pay for their 2014 Toyota 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) 82-SPEED. Also featured on gplb.com is the latest Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach news, downloadable ticket brochure and racetrack information, photos and ongoing announcements of special race week activities.
Ticket prices range from $28 for a Friday General Admission ticket to $135 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, IndyCar Paddock passes, Super Photo tickets and a wide variety of Hospitality Club packages.
Fans can also follow the Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach on Facebook at GrandPrixLB, Twitter @ToyotaGPLB and Instagram at ToyotaGPLB.
PHOTO (L-R): Long Beach Mayor Bob Foster and Jim Michaelian next to the original 1975 Toyota Celica pace car, Indy show car and 2014 Toyota Camry pace car.