Toyota GP of Long Beach news
Pre-race ceremonies for the 34th Annual Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach, April 18-20, will have a collection of cars that - to put it mildly - are eclectic.
Prior to the 1 p.m. Sunday start of the Champ Car finale, fans will enjoy a parade of some very special "green" pace cars, headed up by the Port of Long Beach's specially wrapped Toyota Prius, the "Official Green Pace Car" of this year's event, followed by a variety of Toyota Hybrids, including the Camry, Highlander, Lexus GS 450 and Lexus LX 450.
The parade also includes the new Ronaele, powered by lithium-iron-phosphate batteries, the E100 ethanol-powered Mazda Furai and SolarWorld No. 1, a solar-powered car from Germany that is capable of hitting speeds of 70 mph.
At noon, fans will get a glimpse of the future in the Robotic Challenge, featuring three robotic cars attempting to complete a full lap of the circuit using nothing but on-board computers and GPS tracking systems.
More conventionally, great Champ Cars from the past including the Skoal Bandit March, driven here in 1986 by Tom Sneva and owned by Tom Malloy, a Gurney Reynard/Eagle, driven in 1997 by Juan Manuel Fangio II and the following year by Alex Barron and now owned by Al Campano and a 1984 Gurney Eagle piloted by Michael Chandler and now owned by Vince Tjelmeland -- will bring back some memories as they take to the track as part of the pre-race ceremonies on Sunday as part of the celebration of Champ Car at this year's race.
Several of the "green" vehicle models involved in the pre-race ceremonies will also be available for test drives on race weekend Sunday from 9 a.m.-5 p.m. at the Alternative Energy Ride-N-Drive, located in the ALMS paddock area, directly across the Bridgestone bridge between turns 9-10 of the race circuit. It's all part of the Grand Prix's ground-breaking "Green Power Prix-View" initiative that also includes the weekend-long Lifestyle and Alternative Energy Expo in the Convention and Entertainment Center.
The Ride-N-Drive program and Expo are both free to race ticket holders.
Ticket prices for the three-day Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach range from $25 for a Friday General Admission ticket (no reserved seat) to $125 for a three-day ticket that includes Saturday and Sunday reserved seating in grandstand upper levels. Pre-paid parking packages are also available.
Credit card orders for the event can be placed by calling the toll-free ticket hotline - (888) 82-SPEED - or online by visiting www.gplb.com. Handicapped seating, Champ Car Paddock Passes, Super Photo tickets and a wide variety of Hospitality Club packages are also available.
A ticket brochure that includes a circuit map, ticket prices and order form can be obtained by calling the hotline.