THE 46TH ACURA GRAND PRIX OF LONG BEACH
Event dates: April 17-19, 2020.
The circuit: It’s a 1.97-mile, 11-turn twist through the city along the Pacific Ocean. With concrete barriers lining the street course, driving precision is a must and trouble looms at each corner.
Tickets: On sale now, accessed through this link. One of the best grandstands is No. 24; it’s located at the tight hairpin that is the signature of this circuit. A paddock pass offers an up-close look at the NTT INDYCAR SERIES drivers, crews and cars.
Kings in SoCal: Mario Andretti, who had won Formula One’s 1977 race on Long Beach’s streets, won three of the first four Indy car races (1984-87), and the one he didn’t win went to his son, Michael. Then, it was Al Unser Jr.’s turn to dominate. He won four races in succession, the record for a driver at a single Indy car event, and he then won two more a few years later to give him six victories in eight years. That’s how Unser earned the nickname “King of the Beach.”
Wins in succession: Andretti and Unser aren’t the only drivers to have won this race in consecutive years. Alex Zanardi won a pair in a row (1997-98) as did Paul Tracy (2003-04). Sebastien Bourdais won three in a row (2005-07) and Alexander Rossi has a chance to tally the three-peat feat with this year’s trip. The Andretti Autosport driver held back Team Penske's Will Power by 1.2 seconds in 2018 and destroyed the field last year with a 20.2-second margin of victory. Watch the highlight package.
Plenty to consume: The event features a host of on-track activities, with sports cars, vintage cars and Robby Gordon’s high-flying Stadium Super Trucks joining the INDYCAR SERIES. And there’s much to see, eat and drink of the track, everything from live music to walking tacos to adult beverages in various sizes and colors. To call it a sunshine street party is an understatement, and the event brochure here promises “lower beer prices throughout the venue (and) healthier food options.”
More to see: The Lifestyle Expo is an added bonus. There are more than 150 displays spread over 270,000 square feet of convention center space, featuring the latest in automotive, home, recreation, travel and entertainment products and services. In addition, the INDYCAR SERIES Fan Experience is located there, as are the Family Fun Zone, support series paddocks and several driver autograph sessions. Plus, there are concerts Friday and Saturday nights in front of the Long Beach Performing Arts Center, and the exotic car paddock is a must-see. If Long Beach isn't on your bucket list, it should be.
1984 (CART): Mario Andretti
1985 (CART): Mario Andretti
1986 (CART): Michael Andretti
1987 (CART): Mario Andretti
1988 (CART): Al Unser Jr.
1989 (CART): Al Unser Jr.
1990 (CART): Al Unser Jr.
1991 (CART): Al Unser Jr.
1992 (CART): Danny Sullivan
1993 (CART): Paul Tracy
1994 (CART): Al Unser Jr.
1995 (CART): Al Unser Jr.
1996 (CART): Jimmy Vasser
1997 (CART): Alex Zanardi
1998 (CART): Alex Zanardi
1999 (CART): Juan Pablo Montoya
2000 (CART): Paul Tracy
2001 (CART): Helio Castroneves
2002 (CART): Michael Andretti
2003 (CART): Paul Tracy
2004 (Champ Car): Paul Tracy
2005 (Champ Car): Sebastien Bourdais
2006 (Champ Car): Sebastien Bourdais
2007 (Champ Car): Sebastien Bourdais
2008 (IRL): Will Power
2009 (IRL): Dario Franchitti
2010 (IRL): Ryan Hunter-Reay
2011 (INDYCAR): Mike Conway
2012 (INDYCAR): Will Power
2013 (INDYCAR): Takuma Sato
2014 (INDYCAR): Mike Conway
2015 (INDYCAR): Scott Dixon
2016 (INDYCAR): Simon Pagenaud
2017 (INDYCAR): James Hinchcliffe
2018 (INDYCAR): Alexander Rossi
2019 (INDYCAR): Alexander Rossi