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Why Long Beach is an IndyCar Classic

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The Acura Grand Prix of Long Beach is arguably the most famous IndyCar race outside the Indianapolis 500. Let’s dive into why this event is so iconic.

Timeless track layout/aesthetic

The Long Beach GP is one of the best street circuits in the world. Its layout while slightly simplified from the versions used in the 1970s and 1980s is beautifully simple and elegant.

Its sweeping start-finish straight along southern California’s famous Shoreline drive means the cars get up to speeds of nearly 180 mph. A very complex turn-one leads to the roundabout with the iconic imagery of the flower-laden fountain with the dolphin statue. The classic third sector also leads into the incredibly tight hairpin that has caused countless incidents.

Aside from its imagery and aesthetic, Long Beach defies a big stereotype of street circuits. It provides ample overtaking opportunities around the entire track, not just the start-finish straight. Many other series including the WeatherTech IMSA Sportscar Championship (which has shared the race weekend with IndyCar for many years) demonstrate this.

Atmosphere/Lineup

There is a reason why the streets of Long Beach are called the Monaco of American racing. It represents everything great about racing in the U.S.

Its carefree and relaxed atmosphere combined with its affordable tickets, great food, and other local attractions make it an absolute go-to for any racing fan. It’s not just the event’s atmosphere, but the lineup of the racing series too.

IndyCar is the headlining event of Long Beach, but the support races are arguably unmatched. For example, at last year’s event, there was IMSA, Porsche Cup, historic F1 cars, Formula Drift, and stadium Super trucks.

Countless classic races and moments

Long Beach is not just an IndyCar classic because of the track and the atmosphere. It is a classic because it has provided so many epic races and moments over the races.

For example, in 2021 it was the season closer race where Colton Herta charged through the field from 14th to victory lane while Alex Palou won his first championship.

Long Beach also has some amazing statistics including an impressive streak of four first-time winners in a row. Additionally, the 2008 Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach was the last ever Champ Car race. This was when CART and Champ Car finally decided to merge to form what we know as IndyCar today.

Famous winners

The Long Beach Grand Prix is one of IndyCar’s most prestigious races. So it makes sense that the list of winners is just as prestigious as the event itself.

Some of these names include Mario Andretti, Al Unser Jr, Will Power, Josef Newgarden, Colton Herta, James Hinchcliffe, Scott Dixon, and Helio Castroneves.

Here to stay

The recent news of Gerald Forsythe buying the remaining 50% stake in the Acura Grand Prix of Long Beach is amazing news for IndyCar. This means that the event is and will remain an IndyCar-centered event.

This acquisition protects this from the likes of other series like NASCAR who recently took interest. The Long Beach GP is an event that does not need to be changed or fixed.

IndyCar is here to stay at Long Beach.

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