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. In 2019 the race is on April 12–14. Here are 10 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. 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. 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 an evening concert.
9. Don’t just sit there. You may get assigned a seat in the grandstands, but arrive early and explore the entire venue.
10. 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.
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
For tickets: 888-827-7333
For general info: 562-981-2600