Pike Turns Into the Prix

By: 
Collin James
CONSTRUCTION CREWS erect bleachers along Shoreline Drive.

The Long Beach waterfront is piece by piece turning into a high-speed race track for the Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach which will return for the 43rd time from April 7-9.

Construction workers are currently erecting over 2,400 concrete barriers, six sky bridges, 14 grandstands, and seven giant television screens along the two mile, 11 turn track. 

“The start of our track construction really signals that spring is right around the corner,” Jim Michaelian said, president and CEO of the Grand Prix Association of Long Beach.

Construction began over a month ago and crews are working at a steady pace to ensure the safety of the track barriers and seating, one beam, barrier and bolt at a time.

The construction will also include a number of safety features. TGPLB Director of Operations Dwight Tanaka is overseeing the construction of concrete barriers, four miles of fences and over 7,000 tires designed to keep the 100-plus mile an hour racecars on the track and away from the spectators.

In addition, construction crews will be installing 44 high end suites and three hospitality clubs for VIP ticket holders.

Drivers will still have access to the streets and businesses will remain open while construction takes place. During the Grand Prix weekend, most streets along the waterfront will be closed to all traffic including Shoreline drive, and access to most of the businesses at the Pike will be limited to ticket holders, according to a press release by the TGPLB.

Parking is also expected to be impacted for the entire downtown area. TGPLB expects over 180,000 spectators to attend from the April 7-9 weekend, and Michaelian said they expect this year to be “bigger, better and faster than ever before.” Parking passes can also be obtained online, with one-day parking permits going for $15 and as much as $50 for the entire weekend. Commuters to downtown should expect to prepare for crowded parking buildings.

The Shoreline will also feature the first round of the Formula Drift along the eastern portion of the track on March 31 and April 1. The Grand Prix weekend will kick-off with the second round of the 2017 Verizon IndyCar Series on Friday April 7.

The ticket price will also include a free concert for all ticket holders on Friday and Saturday night, after the races conclude.

Tickets can be purchased online, by phone, or at the box office the day of the Grand Prix and range in price from $32 for Friday only to $148 for the entire weekend. To order by phone, call the toll-free hotline (888) 827-7333, or visit gplb.com to order online.

collin@beachcomber.news

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