2012-02-16 · By Editor
The 38th Annual Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach, set to take place April 13-15, took its first step toward the green flag this week when construction began on Shoreline Drive for the famed racing circuit’s front straightaway.
The construction got underway with assistance from Long Beach Vice Mayor Suja Lowenthal and Pirelli World Challenge team owner/driver Rob Morgan, who appeared at the track for a kickoff photo shoot with his #1 TruSpeed Motorsports Porsche 911 GT3, which was the championship-winning car in the series’ GT category last year. Morgan’s Costa Mesa-based team is preparing to contest the 2012 World Challenge season which gets underway March 23-25 with a doubleheader at the Honda Grand Prix of St. Petersburg.
“We feel honored to help kick off the Grand Prix,” Morgan said. “When you look at the history and heritage of the event, it’s one of the best in the world. It’s also our home race, so we’re glad to be here today.”
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 175,000 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 concrete blocks, three miles of fencing and 16,000 bolted-together tires, along with 16 huge spectator grandstands, seven pedestrian bridges and giant-vision boards for full-circuit TV coverage.
“We also install hospitality suites, tents, electrical equipment, phones, porta-johns, trash containers and a hundred other little things up until race weekend,” said Tanaka. “Then 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 want to make sure that our course is both safe and competitive, and Dwight and his staff as well as the Long Beach city departments deliver on all accounts,” said Jim Michaelian, president and CEO of the Grand Prix Association of Long Beach. “That phenomenal support is what helps us make the Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach 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.
Fans can select and pay for their 2012 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. A printed ticket brochure that includes a circuit map, ticket prices, order form and other information can be obtained by calling the hotline.
Ticket prices range from $26 for a Friday General Admission ticket to $130 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 including the exciting Vista Club – featuring a nearly 360-degree view of the race circuit – located high atop the Hyatt Regency Long Beach.
Fans can also follow the Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach on Facebook at GrandPrixLB and on Twitter @ToyotaGPLB.