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AutoMatters & More: 2022 Acura Grand Prix of Long Beach—so much to see

IndyCars racing around the iconic dolphin fountain
IndyCars racing around the iconic dolphin fountain

(Jan Wagner)

The Acura Grand Prix of Long Beach is now in the history books. As previewed in AutoMatters & More #735, entitled “Acura Grand Prix of Long Beach featured six motorsports series,” the 2022 version of this annual event was indeed fantastic!

Where else can you find six motorsports series competitions taking place on just one race weekend? Talk about value for your money, Long Beach cannot be beat!

The racing took place on the 1.97-mile, temporary street circuit in downtown Long Beach, surrounding the Long Beach Convention and Entertainment Center, and encompassing the Aquarium of the Pacific and the Pike Outlets complex.

This is one of the largest paid spectator special events in Southern California, typically attracting more than 180,000 spectators over the weekend.

Historic IMSA GTP Challenge
Historic IMSA GTP Challenge
(Jan Wagner)

Thursday began in the morning with the traditional Long Beach Motorsports Walk of Fame Ceremony in front of the Convention Center. This year’s inductees included two-time Grand Prix race winner Alex Zanardi and all-time winningest IMSA driver Bill Auberlen, a native of nearby Redondo Beach.

In the evening, the free “Thunder Thursday” at The Pike Outlets event included freestyle motocross, a car show, driver autograph sessions and an NTT IndyCar Pit Stop demonstration.

In addition to the plentiful racing, the Lifestyle Expo typically features more than 100 exhibitors, offering a variety of products and services, giveaways and more in the Long Beach Convention and Entertainment Center. Nearby, in the Long Beach Arena, was a large Family Fun Zone. Saturday’s festivities concluded with a concert, presented by Acura.

Robby Gordon’s Stadium SUPER Trucks
Robby Gordon’s Stadium SUPER Trucks
(Jan Wagner)

You’ll get great recaps of the racing action on this very long street circuit at https://gplb.com. Scroll down to “FEATURED VIDEOS.”

In an extended, 24-minute video, NBC Sports brings you all of the highlights from the IndyCar Series race (YouTube: https://youtu.be/OuZ5jCNA4AA). Throughout the race, the action was particularly intense in Turn 8, with several cars finding the tire barriers and the concrete walls. Other contacts happened in the tight hairpin and at the iconic dolphin fountain, where Simon Pagenaud’s car ended up in the checkered flower garden — a fate that echoed an incident the day before when one of the Porsche Carrera Cup North America competitors ended up there too.

Watch the entire IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship race flag to flag, complete with European commentary (YouTube: https://youtu.be/TEA-8JA6oQs).

Porsche Carrera Cup North America at the hairpin
Porsche Carrera Cup North America at the hairpin
(Jan Wagner)

Do not miss the high-flying, three-wheel-cornering, start-to-finish, Stadium SUPER Trucks video of Race #, on the full Acura Grand Prix of Long Beach course (YouTube: https://youtu.be/yyDRxhe6dFQ). That includes the pink truck raced by 21-year-old Zoey Edenholm, the double jump on Shoreline Blvd., father and son racers Robby and young “Mad Max” Gordon, and the absolute heartbreaker by rookie Cleetus McFarland who brilliantly held off challengers throughout the race, only to spin after landing the final jump and drop from the first truck running to the last, handing Robby Gordon the victory.

Last, but certainly not least, enjoy 1-1/2 hours of the Formula Drift “Super Drift Shootout” (YouTube: https://youtu.be/H7r1u0vBPcs). As the sun set on Saturday evening and the lights came on, watch as pairs of cars drifted side-by-side through the iconic hairpin turn. This, the 19th season of Formula Drift, will continue across the U.S., concluding back in Southern California at Irwindale Speedway on October 14-15.

Close, side-by-side Formula D drifting through the hairpin
Close, side-by-side Formula D drifting through the hairpin
(Jan Wagner)

It was fascinating to observe how quickly workers moved some of the barricades that delineated the course during the racing, so that traffic could more easily circulate through downtown after each day’s racing concluded.

It is not too early to start making your plans now to attend the next Acura Grand Prix of Long Beach. Mark these dates in your calendar: April 14 – 16, 2023 and visit the race website for more information, as it becomes available, at: https://gplb.com. This will no doubt be yet another terrific weekend full of motorsports, and an equally terrific value.

To see the most photos and the latest text, and to explore a wide variety of content dating back to 2002, visit AutoMatters & More at AutoMatters.net. On the Home Page, search by title or topic, or click on the blue ‘years’ boxes.

Copyright © 2022 by Jan Wagner – AutoMatters & More #739


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