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Acura Grand Prix Of Long Beach

PREVIEW: 2023 Acura Grand Prix Of Long Beach

Once again the eyes of the racing world will be on our fair city this weekend for the 48th Acura Grand Prix of Long Beach.

“This place is a crown jewel of our sport,” Josef Newgarden said last year after his first NTT IndyCar series victory on the famous downtown street course. “It’s an honor to win here.”

The NTT IndyCar Series race on Sunday is the main event that caps three full days of racing featuring six different world class series and types of race cars. The marquee race is scheduled to start its 85 laps at 12:45 p.m. on Sunday.

“It’s an amazing event, an amazing atmosphere and all the energy we got from the fans on the parade lap was great,” IndyCar driver Alex Palou said last year.

There was some concern that the construction necessary to transform Shoreline Drive and the surrounding streets into the almost two-mile track would be delayed by recent inclement weather, but Grand Prix Association of Long Beach President and CEO Jim Michaelian says things should go off without a hitch.

“Obviously you lose some efficiency in terms of being able to construct things as you normally would, but our team is really experts on these types of things and they’ve caught up now and we’re right on schedule,” he said. “We’ll be finishing Thursday night and then we’re ready to race on Friday. Hopefully the weather holds, we should have a really exciting weekend.”

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IndyCar fans are specifically looking to see if Newgarden can repeat as champion in Long Beach. The two-time series champion (2017, 2019) is currently fourth in the standings after winning the most recent IndyCar race at Texas Motor Speedway earlier this month.

“This is incredibly special and this place is a hard nut to crack,” Newgarden said of Long Beach last year. “It’s a lot of pressure like the Indy 500.  It does mean more than other tracks. That adds to the difficulty.”

Thunder Thursday is also a big draw for fans because it’s free and features IndyCar pit competitions as well as freestyle motocross next to The Pike outlets. It is scheduled for 6:30-10 p.m. 

The Porsche Carrera Cup kicks it off with a practice session at 7:45 a.m. on Friday and will be the last cars on the track on Sunday afternoon after IndyCar and the Stadium Super Trucks.

IMSA SportsCar Grand Prix will be the main event on Saturday and will start at 2 p.m. as a 100 minute timed race. Super Drift will also be competing on Friday and Saturday at 6:30 p.m.

PHOTOS: Formula D Super Drift Challenge Kicks Off Acura Grand Prix Of Long Beach

The most interesting of the secondary series this weekend will be the Historic F1 race. Formula 1 was originally the main event when the Grand Prix found success in 1976, and then it was changed to CART IndyCar in 1984. This weekend, there will be 19 original Formula 1 cars on the track for a pair of 20 minute races— and 15 of them are the same cars that raced on the streets of Long Beach from 1976-1983. 

“For those of us who were around those days, it will be a chance to reminisce,” Michaelian said “More importantly, for most people who weren’t around those days, a chance to see and hear those exotic machines going down Shoreline Drive. Those are things I think people will remember for a long time.”

Off the track, there will be the Lifestyle Expo in the Convention Center and the concert outside the Terrace theater on Saturday featuring Kings of Chaos.

Weekend Schedule

Fan info including directions to track, shopping, nearby hotels and restaurants, and more

JJ Fiddler
JJ Fiddler is an award-winning sportswriter and videographer who has been covering Southern California sports for multiple newspapers and websites since 2004. After attending Long Beach State and creating the first full sports page at the Union Weekly Newspaper, he has been exclusively covering Long Beach prep sports since 2007.