Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach 2010 (Photo: Samuel Lippke)
The roar of race cars will echo through the city of Long Beach when the 37th Annual Toyota Grand Prix comes to town April 15-17, 2011. The ear-splitting race is the third stop of the 2011 IZOD IndyCar Championship Series, and the single largest event held in Long Beach. More than 200,000 people are expected to attend the 3-day event that features driving pros such as Dario Franchitti, Danica Patrick, Helio Castroneves and the 2010 defending race champion, Ryan Hunter-Reay.
Long Beach downtown street course (Photo: Samuel Lippke)
Drivers will battle it out on the 1.97-mile, 11-turn street course that winds around the Long Beach Convention Center and along the palm-lined waterfront. Grandstands along scenic Shoreline Drive afford a picture-perfect California view of the wheel-to-wheel racing action down the straightaway. There are plenty of additional viewing spots along the circuit and video screens, strategically placed, will broadcast the live action.
2010 Toyota Grand Prix Winner, Ryan Hunter-Reay (Photo: Samuel Lippke)
Excitement isn’t limited to IndyCars; other racing events at the Toyota Grand Prix include the American Le Mans Series, Firestone Indy Lights, Team Drift Challenge and the prestigious Toyota Pro/Celebrity Race, where popular personalities square off against professional racers on a 10-lap sprint around the course. The 2011 celebrity roster includes AJ Buckley (CSI: NY), Frankie Muniz (Malcom In the Middle), Kevin Jonas (Jonas Brothers), Megyn Price (Rules of Engagement), and last year’s celebrity winner, Brian Austin Green (Beverly Hills, 90210).
In between races, you might want to visit the Auto Club Lifestyle Expo, where exhibitors showcase the latest products for the active-minded. A Family Fun Zone has interactive games, simulators, race cars, rock climbing, and a video arcade. Other weekend activities include autograph sessions, car displays, live concerts, dining and dancing.
Ticket prices for the Toyota Grand Prix range from $26 for Friday general admission up to $130 for a three-day ticket that includes upper-level reserved seats in the grandstands on Saturday and Sunday.