VRRROOM with a View: The Acura Grand Prix Returns to Long Beach

The deafening roar of engines will shake Long Beach’s palm trees as the No. 1 street race in the United States — the 46th Acura Grand Prix of Long Beach — sends powerful cars careening down scenic Shoreline Drive at close to 200 miles per hour. Originally planned for 2020 but postponed due to the pandemic, the much-anticipated weekend offers a variety of beachside racing events that’ll be gone in a blink of an eye. Here’s some of the action happening Thursday through Sunday, Sept. 23-26.

Thursday

No ticket required, there are a couple of pre-race activities free and open to the public.

  • Renowned drivers Willy T. Ribbs and Oriol Servia will be honored as their names are added to the Long Beach Motorsports Walk of Fame at 11 a.m. in front of the Long Beach Convention Center.
  • Thunder Thursday at The Pike Outlets includes freestyle motocross, NTT IndyCar Series pit stop demonstrations, a car show and driver autograph sessions starting at 6:30 p.m.

Friday

The gates officially open at the Acura Grand Prix starting at 7:30 a.m., making way for a weekend expected to draw 185,000 spectators. Various race practices and qualifying races dominate the day’s activities. Other highlights:

  • The Lifestyle Expo opens at 8 a.m. with weekend-long informational and retail exhibits, plus a Family Fun Zonewith interactive games, children-sized racecars and more. A Green Power Prix-View within the Expo will feature alternative energy vehicles.
  • Race fans can get their hats and shirts signed at the NTT IndyCar Series All-Driver Autograph Session at 4:30 p.m. in the INDYCAR Paddock.
  • Burning rubber will fill the air for the popular Formula D Super Drift Challenge. Slide into the adrenaline rush of drift practice and eliminations starting at 6:15 p.m., with the competition to span Friday and Saturday nights.

Saturday

High-octane competitions on the track continue Saturday with some of the following events, plus a nighttime concert:

  • The SPEED Energy Stadium SUPER Truck Series will race 600-horsepower V-8 engine trucks in 30-minute sprints with jumps starting at 10:05 a.m.
  • For the first time in Long Beach, drivers and teams will attempt to set the fastest “flying lap” on the racetrack in modified street cars as part of Global Time Attack. The first portion of the three-part competition starts at 11:05 a.m.
  • The finest sports cars will be in the lineup for the 2 p.m. IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship in three classes: Daytona Prototypes, GT Le Mans and GT Daytona Sprint.
  • Another new addition to Grand Prix weekend is the Historic Formula Atlantic Challenge. Starting at 4:30 p.m., the Saturday-Sunday doubleheader will celebrate the legacy of Formula Atlantic racing with a field of classic racecars.
  • And at 5:30 p.m., the legendary front man of Mötley Crüe, Vince Neil, will rock the 2021 Acura Grand Prix of Long Beach when he headlines a concert presented by Acura and ASM Global.

Sunday

Several competitions will wrap up in the morning, with the main event taking the 1.97-mile, 11-turn track on the final day at the races.

  • The 85-lap season finale of the 2021 NTT IndyCar Series is the showstopper at 12:45 p.m. It will feature an international field of world-class drivers, including six-time series champion Scott Dixon and two-time defending Long Beach winner Alexander Rossi, plus rising stars Colton Herta, Alex Palou and Pato O’Ward. They’ll be behind the wheels of turbocharged engines supplied by Honda and Chevrolet as the checkered flags wave.

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