Construction begins for Long Beach circuit
Construction began today on the famed 11-turn, 1.97-mile street circuit that, in just 60 days, will host the cars and stars of the 36th Annual Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach.
|Long Beach Mayor Bob Foster poses on K-rail in what will be Turn 10 of the Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach race course|
|Andy Witherspoon/Grand Prix Association of Long Beach|
Long Beach Mayor Bob Foster ceremoniously kicked off the construction by helping workers install concrete blocks on Shoreline Drive and, over the next two months, the Grand Prix Association of Long Beach (GPALB) will build what is essentially a small town for one weekend.
More than 14 million pounds of concrete blocks that line the race circuit will be set in place, turning Shoreline Drive and downtown Long Beach into a comfortable circuit for more than 175,000 people to enjoy six racing events April 16-18.
"Race attendees will need everything from luxury suites to rest rooms to trash containers to hundreds of other little, but no less important, things," said Grand Prix Association of Long Beach director of operations Dwight Tanaka.
"Our staff of 40 will put in more than 30,000 working hours installing concrete blocks, three miles of fencing and 16,000 bolted-together tires, along with 15 huge spectator grandstands, seven pedestrian bridges and eight giant-vision boards for full-circuit TV coverage.
"And then, we're only half-done. Beginning Sunday night, we start taking everything down, inspecting it and getting ready again for 201l."
The 36th Annual Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach will feature 2009 Long Beach winner Dario Franchitti, Danica Patrick and the rest of the IZOD IndyCar Series stars, along with the always-popular Toyota Pro/Celebrity Race, Tequila Patron American Le Mans Series race, Firestone Indy Lights, Team Drifting Challenge and SCCA Pro World Challenge Championships.
"It's a team effort to construct a circuit which is challenging for the drivers and provides a variety of spectacular views for our fans," said Jim Michaelian, president and CEO of the Grand Prix Association of Long Beach. "Dwight and his staff, together with the City of Long Beach and our suppliers, deserve an enormous amount of credit for building a world-class circuit while, at the same time, minimizing the impact on downtown.
Tickets for the Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach can be purchased from the Grand Prix ticket office by calling toll-free at (888) 82-SPEED, Ticketmaster or by visiting www.gplb.com. A handy ticket brochure - which includes circuit map, grandstand and parking locations, ticket prices and order form - can be obtained by calling the ticket hotline.
Ticket prices, which remain unchanged for the second straight year, range from $25 for Friday general admission up to $125 for a three-day ticket that includes Saturday and Sunday reserved seats in upper levels of the grandstands. Pre-paid parking packages are also available when ordering through the Grand Prix Ticket Office. Handicapped seating, IndyCar Paddock passes, Super Photo tickets and a variety of hospitality club packages are also available.