Every mid-April, Shoreline Drive in downtown Long Beach is closed for a weekend to make way for the Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach, the longest running street race in North America. On top of six racing events, the weekend also includes a Lifestyle Expo, featuring the latest in automotive, home, recreation, travel, and entertainment products and services; a Family Fun Zone that offers fun for family members of all ages; concerts in the evening; and an exotic car show with Lamborghinis, Ferraris, and many more!
The event was on April 19-21, 2013 and is expected to draw a crowd of 200,000 people. As a warm-up to the main event, the 37th annual pro/celebrity race drove up the energy as the crowds cheered on for their favorite celebrities. This year’s list of celebrity racers was recently announced and includes the likes of Jesse Metcalfe, Wanda Sykes, Long Beach native and 2012 Olympic medalist Jessica Hardy, and Jackson Rathbone. These celebrities are participating to benefit “Racing for Kids,” a fundraising effort that supports children’s hospitals across America, by navigating the new 210-horsepower Scion FR-S race vehicles in an exhilarating 10-lap race.
The 1.968-mile track circles around the Long Beach Convention Center and includes the location of The Pike, a historic seaside amusement zone. Drivers race along the palm tree-lined, waterfront course and pass by scenic locations such as Aquarium of the Pacific and Rainbow Harbor. The track also features a harrowing hairpin turn that will sure have the spectators on the edge of their seats.
Whether you’re a seasoned Long Beach pro or are just interested in seeing what the city has to offer, the Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach is definitely a great start. You can enjoy the camaraderie and the excitement of the event. Who knows? Maybe you’ll even see Ricardo the Realtor there! (maybe?) For more information and to buy your tickets, check out http://www.gplb.com/ticket-prices/. Happy racing!