Acura Grand Prix Returns Sept. 24-26

By: 
Eric Bailey

The Acura Grand Prix of Long Beach gets ready to roll down iconic downtown streets as the event shifts into a new gear with a later start date.

Cancellation of last year’s race due to COVID-19 restrictions on events greater than 250 attendees suspended what would have been the event’s forty-sixth contest. Fans should be excited that the race will be held in its home downtown Sept. 24-26.

“I am personally excited to see fans back in the stands and enjoying a weekend at the races in downtown Long Beach,” said Chris Esslinger, director of communications for the Grand Prix. “Remember, it’s been two-and-a-half years since we’ve been able to put an event on.”

Traditionally held in April, the racing event will take place over the last weekend this month after awaiting guidelines from the Long Beach Health and Human Services Department on operating “mega events,” revised Aug. 19 to establish regulations for events with more than 10,000 attendees.

2019’s event saw roughly 187,000 people over the three-day event, according to Jim Michaelian, president and CEO of the Grand Prix Association of Long Beach.

The City of Long Beach will require masking for the event in both its indoor and outdoor venues regardless of vaccination status and will require either proof of vaccination status or a negative COVID-19 test within 72 hours of the event according to the Grand Prix’s FAQ page. Children ages 2-11 who are not eligible to receive the COVID-19 vaccine must show proof of a negative test within 72 hours of admittance.

The city will offer rapid testing at all major entry points of the event, but those who are unvaccinated are strongly urged to receive testing prior to arriving at the event to avoid long waits.

Guests of the Grand Prix will have a lot of new experiences after the event’s hiatus.

“We will have 35 cars from the 1970s and 1980s in the Historic Formula Atlantic Challenge,” Esslinger said.

“We will have three sessions [one each day of the event] of Global Time Attack, which will feature 20 cars competing to set the fastest flying lap of the race circuit,” Esslinger said.

The whizzing of race tires and the revving of high-octane engines won’t be the only sounds electrifying the air.

“On Saturday night, we will have a concert headlined by legendary Mötley Crüe front man Vince Neil,” Esslinger said.

The Grand Prix will open its gates Sept. 24 at 7:30 a.m. and conclude at 4 p.m. Sept. 26. A wide range of ticketing options from one day to the entire weekend are available at gplb.com/ticket-prices.

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