SPEED World Challenge returns to Long Beach

The SCCA SPEED World Challenge GT – featuring such quick marques as Porsche, Corvette, Viper, Cadillac CTS-V and Mustang Cobra – will again wrap up racing activities at the 35th Anniversary Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach, April 16-19.

The World Challenge GT starting field will take the green flag on Sun., April 19 after the conclusion of the inaugural IndyCar race.

The addition of World Challenge GT completes the six-series weekend racing program, which also features the annual Toyota Pro/Celebrity Race, American Le Mans Series, Firestone Indy Lights and Formula Drift.

The revamped series will run under the auspices of the SCCA and WC Vision, a group of GT owners, headed up by co-chairmen Bob Woodhouse and Peter Cunningham, who have committed financing for the 2009 series.

"We're pleased to welcome SCCA SPEED World Challenge GT back to the streets of Long Beach in 2009," said Jim Michaelian, President and CEO of the Grand Prix Association of Long Beach. "It's a hotly competitive series that has been a big hit with our fans, and it'll once again be a terrific way to bring down the curtain on another non-stop racing weekend."

Long-time GT competitor and WC Vision board member Mike Davis of Huntington Beach sees nothing but good things ahead for the series. "The SCCA does a marvelous job running events, and we feel that the contributions of WC Vision, especially in the area of marketing and promotion, will help us maximize the enormous potential of the series in 2009 and beyond."

WC Vision has announced more than half of its planned 2009 schedule, with a combined GT/Touring Car race at Sebring, Fla., preceding the Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach event. From Long Beach, the two-class series heads to Lime Rock, Conn. (May 22-25), Lexington, Ohio (Aug. 7-9), Road America (Aug. 14-16) and Laguna Seca (Oct. 9-11). Other race dates will be announced shortly.

Mike Davis' son, 23-year-old Brandon Davis steered his Mustang Cobra to victory on the famed 1.97-mile Long Beach street circuit last year. Long Beach runner-up Randy Pobst (Gainesville Ga.), driving a Porsche 911 GT3, went on to capture his second consecutive World Challenge GT championship.

Ticket prices for the Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach did not increase for 2009, ranging from $25 for a Friday General Admission ticket to $125 for a three-day ticket that includes Sat./Sun. reserved seating in grandstand upper levels. Pre-paid parking packages are also available.

Credit card orders are now being accepted at the toll-free ticket hotline — (888) 82-SPEED – or on-line by visiting www.gplb.com. Handicapped seating, IndyCar Paddock passes, Super Photo tickets and a wide variety of Hospitality Club packages are also available.

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