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Toyota Grand Prix comes to Long Beach

Three days of partying and professional racing take over the streets

Posted: April 8, 2010 5:32 p.m.
Updated: April 9, 2010 6:00 a.m.

Al Unser, Jr., left, and Keanu Reeves celebrate their respective Pro/ Celebrity Race victories last year.

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The 36th annual Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach roars into action next weekend, Friday, April 16 through Sunday, April 18, featuring the fourth round of the 2010 IZOD IndyCar Series. (There will also be a few earlier events.)

The race takes place on the streets of downtown Long Beach surrounding the Long Beach Convention and Entertainment Center and encompassing the Aquarium of the Pacific and a portion of the Pike at Rainbow Harbor complex. The start/finish line is on Shoreline Drive.

The weekend event draws about 175,000 spectators each year, making it one of the largest paid spectator special events in Southern California.

Featured race: The featured race is Sunday afternoon's IZOD IndyCar Series event, which includes an international field of world-class drivers such as: Indy 500 winner Helio Castroneves, 2009 Long Beach winner and Series champion Dario Franchitti, Danica Patrick, Marco Andretti and Scott Dixon. Five other racing events will also be run.

Toyota Pro/Celebrity Race: The 34th edition of this fan favorite race features stars from the sports and entertainment worlds battling professional drivers in identically prepared Scion tCs. Keanu Reeves returns to defend his 2009 win along with 18 other celebrities and pros. The race will take place midday on Saturday, April 17.

Tequila Patrón American Le Mans Series at Long Beach race: This race features the most technically advanced sports cars in competition. Practice and qualifying for ALMS will be held on Friday, April 16, and the race will run Saturday afternoon, April 17. In addition, teams compete in a "Green Challenge" to determine which cars had the best overall performance while being most fuel efficient.

Firestone Indy Lights: Young drivers tackle the Long Beach race circuit in this exciting preview of open-wheel racing's future stars. The race will take place Sunday, April 18, prior to the IndyCar race.

Long Beach Team Drifting Challenge: Formula Drift, the hottest new form of motor sport, returns to the Long Beach streets, with drivers sliding sideways through the tight turns of the 1.97-mile race circuit. Drivers are expected to include Rhys Millen, Samuel Hubinette and Vaughn Gittin Jr. Competitors will run in teams of three.

SCCA Pro World Challenge Championships: Race-prepared sports cars from famous names such as Audi, Corvette, Dodge Viper, Ford Mustang, Lamborghini, Nissan 350Z, Porsche and Subaru battle fender-to-fender on Sunday, April 18 after the IndyCar race.
Concerts: There will be concerts, free to race ticket holders, on the Rock-N-Roar Stage outside the Long Beach Convention and Entertainment Center (facing Ocean Boulevard) beginning with the Tecate Light Fiesta Friday Concert featuring Molotov and Maldita Vecindad, then continuing with Saturday's Tecate Light Rock-N-Roar Concert starring Cheap Trick.

Other music: More than 20 local musical acts will perform on a stage in the Long Beach Arena during race weekend. The performances will be scheduled throughout each day, creating a festival atmosphere.

Beauty pageant: Taking place on Thursday, April 15 during the Tecate Thursday Thunder on Pine event, the Tecate Miss Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach will feature 18 to 20 young ladies vying for the title - plus cash and prizes in the ultimate sports model search.

Green Power and Lifestyle Expo: In its third year, Green Power Prix-View, part of the popular Lifestyle Expo, will feature weekend-long displays of alternative energy vehicles and a wide variety of renewable energy sources, water and energy conservation and green building materials. Overall, the Lifestyle Expo contains more than 130 exhibitors, offering the latest products and services in automotive, travel, home improvement, fitness and recreation in the Long Beach Convention and Entertainment Center. Free to all race attendees, the Expo is open Friday and Saturday from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. and Sunday from 8 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.

Tickets: Tickets are on sale at the Grand Prix Office at 3000 Pacific Ave. in Long Beach. Ticket information can be obtained and credit card orders placed by calling (888) 827-7333, or visiting www.gplb.com. Tickets will also be on sale at the Grand Prix downtown ticket office, 300 E. Seaside Way (next to the Convention Center box office) in Long Beach.

For the official media guide, updated information about schedules, drivers, tickets and race-related events, or to purchase tickets, visit the official Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach Web site www.gplb.com.

April 10 event: Formula Drift will kick off competition for its 2010 season on Turns 9, 10 and 11 of the Long Beach race circuit (between Seaside Way and the famous hairpin turn on Shoreline Drive) Saturday, April 10. More than 50 professional drifters will compete. Combined discount ticket packages will be available for the April 10 Formula Drift event and the Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach. For more information about Formula Drift, visit www.formulad.com.

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