Circuit prep begins for 37th Long Beach race

By staff

The green flag waved on construction of the circuit for the 37th Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach on April 15-17.

Formula Drift driver Joon Maeng helped kick off the construction, which includes setting in place more than 14 million pounds of concrete barriers. He’s preparing to contest the Formula Drift season that gets underway the weekend before the Grand Prix on Turns 9, 10 and 11 of the 1.97-mile circuit in downtown Long Beach.

Grand Prix Association of Long Beach Director of Operations Dwight Tanaka and his staff will put in more than 30,000 working hours installing concrete blocks, three miles of fencing and 16,000 bolted-together tires, along with 16 spectator grandstands, seven pedestrian bridges and video boards.

“We also install porta-johns, hospitality suites, tents, trash containers, electrical equipment, phones and a hundred other little things up until race weekend,” Tanaka said. “Then Sunday night, when the last race car has left the track, we start taking everything down, inspecting it and getting it ready for 2012.”

All businesses along the race circuit, which includes Shoreline Drive, Aquarium Way and Pine Avenue, will remain open during construction of the racetrack.

“We want to keep the circuit exciting for our fans and, of course, competitive and safe for the drivers,” said Jim Michaelian, president and CEO of the Grand Prix Association of Long Beach. “While Dwight and his staff do a terrific job, we couldn’t do it without the help of many Long Beach city departments and a host of private entities.

“That phenomenal support is what helps us make the Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach America’s No. 1 street race.”

Tickets for the Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach, featuring the IZOD IndyCar Series and Firestone Indy Lights, can be purchased from the Grand Prix ticket office by calling (888) 82-SPEED or online at


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