Bruce Flanders, the longtime voice of the Grand Prix of Long Beach, passed away last Friday at the age of 75.
Flanders had been the official race announcer for the race since 1978, with an energetic and enthusiastic voice that became synonymous with the sunshine and excitement of Long Beach’s signature event.
“The ‘Voice of the Grand Prix’ has been silenced,” said the Grand Prix of Long Beach organizers in a statement. There are so many Grand Prix moments that Bruce was a part of. We will miss him and never forget his melodious voice on race days.”
Flanders suffered from chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD).
Flanders got his flowers from the Grand Prix organizers while he was still around to smell them–he was inducted into the Long Beach Motorsports Walk of Fame in 2016. Flanders was well-known to race fans around Southern California as the announcer at the Irwindale Speedway, Costa Mesa Speedway, the Industry Speedway, and other events.
Long Beach race fans’ affection for him was obvious in the comment section on the Grand Prix’s Facebook post about his passing.
“So sad,” wrote Lisa Flaker Alcantara. “Like the retirement of Vin Scully. Some voices just belong.”
Flanders was a Vietnam war veteran who’d been suffering for COPD for more than a decade, and had to use an oxygen tank while announcing the 2019 race, the last he would call due to COVID-19 canceling the 2020 edition.
Flanders’ love of racing led to a short career on the track, as he set a speed record at the Bonneville Salt Flats, a record that stood for seven years.