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In a couple of weeks Long Beach, California will be hosting the 200 mph beach party better known as the 49th running of the Long Beach Grand Prix featuring the NTT INDYCAR SERIES Race on Sunday, April 21, 2024 at 12:35 P.M. PT. In addition to INDYCAR there are numerous other races including IMSA WeatherTech, GT America Race (aka gentlemen’s racing series), Super Drift Challenge and Robby Gordon’s Stadium SUPER Trucks. The Historic INDY Car Challenge makes another appearance this year and you never know who is going to be driving these vintage race cars. These cars are usually privately owned by collectors and, or vintage racers. Since not all vintage car owners are drivers they seek out licensed race drivers to drive their race cars and it’s a usual practice. Last year there were at least two drivers with special credentials. Patrick Long, a multiple Porsche champion driver and Zak Brown, former pro driver champion who is the CEO of McLaren Racing, McLaren Formula 1, took time out of their hectic schedules to drive.

The Stadium SUPER Truck races and the Super Drift Challenge are always major fan favorites. There is a stark difference between watching these races in person versus seeing them on television. Everyone loves them, including the kids.

Mothers Car Care Products will host another exotic car parade, one lap around the 1.3 mile track. If we’re lucky, maybe someone will show up driving an Aston Martin DBS 770 Ultimate (last of the V12’s), a Koenigsegg or a Pagaini Zonda HP Barchetta. I hope so.

ACURA will demonstrate hot laps with the ACURA TypeS/NSX. In addition, you’ll find some of their vehicles on display in the Lifestyle Expo which is all part of the race festivities. But, there is so much more to experience during the 3 days of racing and festivities. The indoor Lifestyle Expo offers a variety of things to see at no charge with a race ticket. Inside the arena you can find video games, race cars on display, new vehicles, snacks and food to purchase, artwork to enjoy or buy and last year a vendor was giving away beautiful t-shirts. One year there was a zip-line inside the arena. There is a concert outside the main entrance to the Grand Prix on Saturday night around 6:00 P.M.

If you happen to be in Long Beach on On April 18th the annual Motorsports Walk of Fame Ceremony takes place at 11:00 AM on South Pine Avenue next to the Long Beach Convention Center and is open to the public at no cost and no ticket is required. Just show up. This year’s inductees are Katherine Legge, a very talented driver who has competed in the NASCAR Infinity Series,

IMSA SportsCar as well as IndyCar. In fact, last year she became the fastest female ever to qualify at the Indianapolis 500 Race. Speaking of the INDY 500, the other inductee for the 2024 Long Beach Walk of Fame is Takuma Sato from Tokyo, Japan, who has won the INDY 500 twice, in 2017 and 2020. And this fierce competitor knows his way around the Long Beach track just fine. You guessed it. Takuma won the ACURA Grand Prix of Long Beach in 2013. The event is short, one hour, but fun. You may have the chance to say hello to both of these drivers.

The Acura Grand Prix is quite easy to get to. For example, it is 18 miles south of LAX, Los Angeles International Airport and 22 miles south of downtown Los Angeles. If you’re driving, the freeway access is very good. There are numerous parking lots nearby and hotel parking lots. Rates vary but are at least $30.00 - $50. per vehicle. For ticket information and all the details you can search, “ACURA Grand Prix of Long Beach 2024” and it will take you to the website. Make sure you’re viewing the 2024 schedule.

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The ACURA Grand Prix of Long Beach is a fabulous event. The President and CEO of the LBGP Association, Jim Michaelian, his staff, all of the sponsors and hundreds of volunteers make creative and valuable contributions to entertain us. The weather is always good in Long Beach in April, the facility is friendly and safe. There are a few dozen restaurants across the street from the event or nearby. Book a reservation if you’re going to a restaurant, but little bistros can take walk-ins. Wear comfortable shoes and take lots of photos. Bring a friend, bring your family or come alone - you’ll have a great time. This writer has attended the LBGP event about 30 times. I’ll see you there at the races.

Sandra Bartley

Sandra Bartley was a member of the PPG CART Indy Car Pace Car Team. She has driven on this race track at the former Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach.