[DAY TRIP]

Long Beach Grand Prix: 12 Tips to Get the Best View

Thousands are expected to attend the Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach. These hacks will help you navigate the streets and the crowds.

Each year in April, Long Beach lets the world’s top drivers ignore city speed limits during America’s longest-running street race. For more than four decades, the Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach has attracted racers to three days of competition. This year’s race is on April 13–15. Here are 12 tips to help your viewing experience: 

1. Take the Blue Line. Parking near the race course can be expensive, so save money by parking for free at a station and riding to a block away from the race circuit.

2. Wear earplugs. Race cars are loud, so bring along ear protection or get one from booths at the race.

3. Watch out for the sun. Bring sunscreen and a hat. Shade is limited.

4. Find a corner. Some of the best places to watch the race are sections where the cars are likely to pass each other or are forced to slow down. Turns 1, 8, 10, and the hairpin at 11 are great viewing spots.

5. Set your DVR. The race is exciting to watch trackside, but it’s often easier to follow the action on TV. NBC Sports plans to cover Indycar qualifying on Saturday, April 14, and the final race on Sunday, April 15. Check local listings for times.

6. Buy an Indycar paddock access pass. You can get an up-close look at the Indycars, talk to some of the crews, and maybe get a glimpse of your favorite driver. Don’t have a paddock pass? Several other paddocks are open to all ticketed race fans, including ones for drift cars, sports cars, and historic Trans Am muscle cars.

7. Rent a racing radio headset. You can listen in as drivers report problems with their cars or get instructions on when to pit. They sometimes talk in code, however, because rival crews can hear all this, too.

8. Visit the Auto Club booth at the Lifestyle Expo. You can view an Auto Club race car and two rare Bosley sports cars on loan from the Petersen Automotive Museum. We will also have prize giveaways. 

9. Meet your favorite driver. An autograph session is scheduled for Friday at 4 p.m. at the Indycar paddock. No paddock pass is required.

10. For variety, go on Saturday. The day’s attractions include historic Trans Am muscle cars, sports cars, GT cars, super trucks, Indycars, drift racers, and a 6 p.m. concert by The Cult.

11. Don’t just sit there. You may get assigned a seat in the grandstands, but arrive early and explore the entire venue. 

12. Bring the kids. The Family Fun Zone features video games, an electric cart track for kids ages 3–6, padded Bubble Rollers, and a K1 Speed Kart Track for older kids and adults.

Bonus tip: After the race, drive it yourself in May. After they take down the stands and open the streets, average Joes can drive on the race route. Look for the red stripe on the ground that marks the course. Of course, you’ll need to strictly obey all speed limits. 

Auto Club members get discounts on tickets to the Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach. Get more info here

Top photo: Simon Pagenaud at the 2017 Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach | Perry Nelson / LAT Images. Photo below right:  Will Power negotiates the Turn 2/3 "Fountain Complex" near the Aquarium of the Pacific. | Perry Nelson / LAT Images

If You Go

When: April 13–15

For tickets: (888) 827-7333

For general info: (562) 981-2600

gplb.com