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Long Beach race to celebrate Champ Car, new era
2007 Long Beach GP
Doug Gifford
The 34th Annual Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach will become a three-day celebration of Champ Car racing this April 18-20 and signal a new era in open-wheel racing coming in 2009.

It will be the fans’ last chance to see the up-to-800 horsepower, turbocharged Champ Cars run on the famed 1.97-mile, 11-turn Long Beach race circuit, or, for that matter, anywhere else. Champ Car and the Indy Racing League (IRL) signed a landmark agreement Feb. 22 to unify open-wheel racing.

Champ Car drivers competing at Long Beach, like their IRL counterparts racing the same weekend at Motegi, Japan, will earn points toward the 2008 IndyCar Series championship. Several Champ Car teams are expected to join the unified series and compete for the championship.

“For 25 years, we’ve hosted a series that has given our fans countless great racing thrills,” said Jim Michaelian, president and CEO of the Grand Prix Association of Long Beach. “We plan on using the weekend of April 18-20 to celebrate the many notable drivers, great cars and memorable moments that have been a hallmark of Champ Car racing here at Long Beach for a quarter-century.”

Michaelian said plans are underway for bringing back many of the cars and drivers who once scorched the streets of Long Beach to run ceremonial laps. Also planned are race car displays, autograph functions for fans and various other social gatherings.

“We’ll be honoring our past and, at the same time, setting the stage for the showcasing the unified IndyCar Series as it comes to the streets of Long Beach in 2009,” Michaelian added.

It sets up as an ambitious weekend in Long Beach.  Also slated to run are the Toyota Pro/Celebrity Race, American Le Mans Series, SPEED GT, Atlantic and Formula Drift events.

“Long Beach has served, since the start of Champ Car racing, as our marquee event,” said Kevin Kalkhoven, co-owner with Gerald Forsythe of the Champ Car World Series.  “It always has been a fan-friendly event that also appeals to the owners, drivers and teams who love to compete there. 

“I can think of no better circuit at which to celebrate Champ Car while at the same time signaling the beginning of a new era in open-wheel racing than the Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach.”

Ticket prices for the 34th Annual Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach range from $25 for a Friday general Admission ticket to $125 for a three-day ticket that includes Sat. and Sun. reserved seating in grandstand upper levels.  Pre-paid parking packages are also available.

Tickets can be ordered by calling the toll-free ticket hotline – (888) 82-SPEED – or on-line at www.gplb.com. Handicapped seating, paddock passes, Super Photo tickets and a wide variety of Hospitality Club packages are also available.

The web site also includes continuous updates on 2008 Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach tickets, news and ongoing announcements of special race week activities. A ticket brochure that includes a circuit map, ticket prices and order form can also be obtained from the hotline.

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