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Grand Prix of Long Beach facts for kids

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Acura Grand Prix of Long Beach
Acura Grand Prix Long Beach logo.svg
Long Beach Street Circuit IndyCar.svg
IndyCar Series
Location Long Beach, California
33°45′59″N 118°11′34″W / 33.76639°N 118.19278°W / 33.76639; -118.19278
Corporate sponsor Acura
First race 1975
First ICS race 2009
Distance 192.864 mi (310.385 km)
Laps 98
Previous names Long Beach Grand Prix (1975)
United States Grand Prix West (1976–1983)
Toyota Grand Prix of the United States (1980–1981, 1983)
Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach (1984–2018)
Most wins (driver) Al Unser Jr. (6)
Most wins (team) Newman/Haas Racing (6)
Team Penske (6)
Chip Ganassi Racing (6)
Most wins (manufacturer) Chassis: Lola & Dallara (11)
Engine: Honda (18)
Tires: Goodyear (18)
Circuit information
Length 1.968 mi (3.167 km)
Turns 11
Lap record 1:06.2254 (Hélio Castroneves, Dallara DW12 Chevrolet, 2017, IndyCar)

The Grand Prix of Long Beach (known as Acura Grand Prix of Long Beach for the 2019 event) is an IndyCar Series race held on a street circuit in downtown Long Beach, California. Christopher Pook is the founder of the event. It was the premier race on the CART/Champ Car calendar from 1996 to 2008, and the 2008 race was the final Champ Car series race prior to the formal unification and end of the open-wheel "split" between CART and IRL. Since 2009, the race has been part of the unified IndyCar Series. The race is typically held in April. It is one of the longest continuously-running events in Indy car racing and is considered one of the most prestigious events on the circuit.

The Long Beach Grand Prix is the longest running major street race held in North America. It started in 1975 as a Formula 5000 race, and became a Formula One event in 1976. In an era when turbocharged engines were starting to come to prominence in Formula One, Long Beach remains one of the few circuits used from the time Renault introduced turbos in 1977 until the last Long Beach Grand Prix in 1983 that never once saw a turbo-powered car take victory.

John Watson's win for McLaren in 1983 holds the Formula One record for the lowest ever starting position for a race winner. In a grid consisting of 26 cars, Watson started 22nd in his McLaren-Ford. That same race also saw Watson's teammate (and 1982 Long Beach winner) Niki Lauda finish second after starting 23rd on the grid. René Arnoux, who finished third in his Ferrari 126C2B, was the only driver to ever finish on the Formula One podium at Long Beach driving a turbocharged car.

In 1984, the race switched from a Formula One race to a CART Indy car event. Support races over the years have included Indy Lights, IMSA, Atlantics, Pirelli World Challenge, Trans-Am Series, Formula D, Stadium Super Trucks, Formula E, and the Toyota Pro/Celebrity Race. Toyota was a sponsor of the event since its beginning and title sponsor from 1980 to 2018, believed to be the longest continuously running sports sponsorship in the U.S.

The Long Beach Grand Prix has been announced since 1978 by Bruce Flanders (and various guest announcers). The Long Beach Grand Prix in April is the single largest event in the city of Long Beach. Attendance for the weekend regularly reaches or exceeds 200,000 people. In 2006, the Long Beach Motorsports Walk of Fame was created to honor selected past winners and key contributors to the sport of auto racing.

Event history

Mark Smith Long Beach Grand Prix 1993 Indy car race CART
Mark Smith driving in the 1993 race

The Long Beach Grand Prix was the brainchild of promoter Chris Pook, a former travel agent from England. Pook was inspired by the Monaco Grand Prix, and believed that a similar event had the potential to succeed in the Southern California area. The city of Long Beach was selected, approximately 25 miles (40 km) south of downtown Los Angeles. A waterfront circuit, near the Port of Long Beach was laid out on city streets, and despite the area at the time being mostly a depressed, industrial port city, the first event drew 30,000 fans. The inaugural race was held in September 1975 as part of the Formula 5000 series.

In 1976, the United States Grand Prix West was created, providing two grand prix races annually in the United States for a time. Long Beach became a Formula One event for 1976 and the race was moved to March or April. Meanwhile, the United States Grand Prix East at Watkins Glen International was experiencing a noticeably steady decline. Despite gaining a reputation of being demanding and rough on equipment, Long Beach almost immediately gained prominence owing much to its pleasant weather, picturesque setting, and close proximity to Los Angeles and the glitzy Hollywood area. When Watkins Glen was dropped from the Formula One calendar after 1980, the now-established Long Beach began to assume an even more prominent status.

Despite exciting races and strong attendance, the event was not financially successful as a Formula One event. The promoter was risking a meager $100,000 profit against a $6–7 million budget. Fearing that one poor running could bankrupt the event, Pook convinced city leaders to change the race to a CART series event beginning in 1984. In short time, the event grew to prominence on the Indy car circuit and has been credited with triggering a renaissance in the city of Long Beach. The race was used to market the city, and in the years since the race's inception, many dilapidated and condemned buildings have been replaced with high-rise hotels and tourist attractions.

The event served as a CART/Champ Car race from 1984 to 2008, then became an IndyCar Series race in 2009. The 2017 race was the 43rd running, and the 34th consecutive as an Indy car race, one of the longest continuously running events in the history of Indy car racing. On three occasions (1984, 1985 and 1987) the race served as the CART season opener. In seven separate seasons (1986, 1988, 1989, 1990, 1992, 1993 and 1994), it served as the final race before the Indianapolis 500.

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the 2020 race was canceled as part of the City of Long Beach's ban on events with estimated attendance of more than 250. The following year, as a preparatory measure for the pandemic's effects on the schedule, the race was moved from its traditional April date to September 26 as the season finale.

First wins

Despite the challenging nature of the course, the Grand Prix of Long Beach has produced the first Indy/Champ Car victories for several drivers. Drivers who won their first career Indy car race at Long Beach include Michael Andretti, Paul Tracy, Juan Pablo Montoya, Mike Conway, and Takuma Sato. For Michael Andretti, the Long Beach Grand Prix has the distinction of being his first career Indy car win (1986), and 42nd and final career IndyCar win (2002).

James Hinchcliffe won his first-career Indy Lights race at Long Beach in 2010, then followed it up with an IndyCar Series win at the track in 2017. In 2005, Katherine Legge won the Atlantic Championship support race at Long Beach, her first start in the series. In doing so, she became the first female driver to win a developmental open-wheel race in North America.


The current race circuit is a 1.968-mile (3.167 km) temporary road course laid out in the city streets surrounding the Long Beach Convention Center. The convention center actually doubled as the pit paddock during the days of Formula One. The circuit also goes primarily over the former location of The Pike historic amusement zone. The track is particularly noted for its last section, a sharp hairpin turn followed by a long, slightly curved front straightaway which runs the length of Shoreline Drive. The circuit is situated on the Long Beach waterfront, and is lined with palm trees (especially along the front straightaway towards the Aquarium of the Pacific), making for a scenic track. Long Beach is classified as an FIA Grade Two circuit.

The circuit has undergone numerous layout changes since the race's inception in 1975. All iterations have featured a signature hairpin turn, main stretch along Shoreline Drive, and back stretch along Seaside Way. The first grand prix layout measured 2.02 miles, and featured two hairpins, one at each end of the Shoreline Drive straightaway. In its early years, the starting line and the finish line were located on different sides of the course.

In 1982, the hairpin turn and the end of the main stretch (turn 1) was removed, and replaced with a 90-degree right turn, followed by 90-degree left turn. When the race became a CART series event, the layout was changed significantly. The final turn hairpin was moved to the east, closer to the pit entrance. Other slow chicanes and turns were removed. After a minor tweak to the layout in 1987, the track was shortened in 1992 by the removal of the Park Avenue loop. That created a longer Seaside Way back stretch and a faster run to the passing zone.

In 1999, due to new construction in the area, the turn one set of curves was removed, and replaced with the new fountain complex. Turn one now became a 90-degree left turn, leading into a roundabout around a fountain, and a series of three 90-degree turns. A year later, this segment was revised again, to create a longer straightaway leading to Pine Avenue. This course layout remains intact today.

Course layouts


Formula 5000 and Formula One

The inaugural race was held as part of the Formula 5000 series. From 1976 to 1983 the event was a Formula One race, commonly known as the United States Grand Prix West.

The City of Long Beach and the Grand Prix Association signed a contract in 2014 to hold the Grand Prix as part of the IndyCar Series through 2018, with optional extensions available through 2020. In 2016, the Long Beach City Council issued an RFP, opening up consideration for returning the event to a Formula One race as early as 2019. In August 2017, after a study was completed and after discussions, the switch to Formula One was rejected. The city council voted unanimously to continue the event as part of the IndyCar Series.

2008 Long Beach/Motegi "split weekend"

Jimmy Vasser at the 2008 Grand Prix of Long Beach.

During negotiations which led to the unification of the Champ Car World Series and the IRL IndyCar Series in 2008, a scheduling conflict arose between the IndyCar race held at Twin Ring Motegi (April 19) and the Champ Car race at Long Beach (April 20). Neither party was able to reschedule their event.

A compromise was made to create a unique "split weekend" of races at Motegi and Long Beach. The existing Indy Racing League teams would compete in Japan, while the ex-Champ Car teams raced at Long Beach. Both races paid equal points towards the 2008 IndyCar Series championship. The ex-Champ Car teams utilized the Panoz DP01 machines, the cars that would have been used in 2008 had the unification not taken place. The 2008 Long Beach Grand Prix was billed as the "final Champ Car race."


Beginning in 2005 the event included a demonstration by participants in the Formula D drifting series. Since 2006 Formula D has held the first round of their pro series on Turns 9–11 on the weekend prior to the Grand Prix. In 2013 the Motegi Super Drift Challenge, a drifting competition, was added on the GP weekend, using the same Turn 9–11 course as Formula D. The Motegi Super Drift Challenge is the only event during the GP that runs at night, under floodlights.

North American Touring Car Championship

Long Beach hosted the opening round of the 1997 North American Touring Car Championship season, being won by Neil Crompton in a Honda Accord.

Formula E

A modified version of the Long Beach Grand Prix track was used during the Long Beach ePrix of the FIA Formula E Championship. The track is 2.1 km (1.3 mi) in length and features seven turns. Admission to the first event was free: "the free admission will afford everyone the opportunity to come out and witness this historic and unique event", Jim Michaelian, president of the Grand Prix Assn. of Long Beach, said in a statement. The ePrix was held once again in 2016. However, it was not renewed for the third Formula E season in 2017.

Race winners

Season Date Driver Team Chassis Engine Tires Race Distance Race Time Average Speed
Laps Miles (km)
Formula 5000
1975 Sept 28 United Kingdom Brian Redman Carl A. Haas Racing Lola Chevrolet Goodyear 50 101 (162.543) 1:10:12 86.325 Report
Formula One
1976 March 28 Switzerland Clay Regazzoni Scuderia Ferrari SpA SEFAC Ferrari 312T Ferrari Goodyear (2) 80 161.6 (260.069) 1:53:18 85.572 Report
1977 April 3 United States Mario Andretti Team Lotus Lotus 78 FordCosworth Goodyear (3) 80 161.6 (260.069) 1:51:35 87.073 Report
1978 April 2 Argentina Carlos Reutemann Scuderia Ferrari SpA SEFAC (2) Ferrari 312T3 (2) Ferrari (2) Michelin 80 161.6 (260.069) 1:52:01 86.555 Report
1979 April 8 Canada Gilles Villeneuve Scuderia Ferrari SpA SEFAC (3) Ferrari 312T4 (3) Ferrari (3) Michelin (2) 80 161.6 (260.069) 1:50:25 87.812 Report
1980 March 30 Brazil Nelson Piquet Brabham Racing Team Brabham BT49 FordCosworth (2) Goodyear (4) 80 161.6 (260.069) 1:50:18 87.899 Report
1981 March 15 Australia Alan Jones Williams Racing Team Williams FW07 FordCosworth (3) Goodyear (5) 80 161.6 (260.069) 1:50:41 87.601 Report
1982 April 4 Austria Niki Lauda McLaren International McLaren MP4/1 FordCosworth (4) Goodyear (6) 75 159.75 (257.092) 1:58:25 80.939 Report
1983 March 27 United Kingdom John Watson McLaren International (2) McLaren MP4/1 (2) FordCosworth (5) Michelin (3) 75 152.55 (245.505) 1:53:34 80.624 Report
Champ Car World Series
1984 March 31 United States Mario Andretti (2) Newman/Haas Racing Lola (2) Cosworth (6) Goodyear (7) 112 187.04 (301.011) 2:15:23 82.898 Report
1985 April 14 United States Mario Andretti (3) Newman/Haas Racing (2) Lola (3) Cosworth (7) Goodyear (8) 90 150.3 (241.884) 1:42:50 87.694 Report
1986 April 13 United States Michael Andretti Kraco Racing March Cosworth (8) Goodyear (9) 95 158.65 (255.322) 1:57:34 80.965 Report
1987 April 5 United States Mario Andretti (4) Newman/Haas Racing (3) Lola (4) Chevrolet (2) Goodyear (10) 95 158.65 (255.322) 1:51:33 85.33 Report
1988 April 17 United States Al Unser Jr. Galles Racing March (2) Chevrolet (3) Goodyear (11) 95 158.65 (255.322) 1:53:47 83.655 Report
1989 April 16 United States Al Unser Jr. (2) Galles Racing (2) Lola (5) Chevrolet (4) Goodyear (12) 95 158.65 (255.322) 1:51:19 85.503 Report
1990 April 22 United States Al Unser Jr. (3) Galles/Kraco Racing (3) Lola (6) Chevrolet (5) Goodyear (13) 95 158.65 (255.322) 1:53:00 84.227 Report
1991 April 14 United States Al Unser Jr. (4) Galles/Kraco Racing (4) Lola (7) Chevrolet (6) Goodyear (14) 95 158.65 (255.322) 1:57:14 81.195 Report
1992 April 12 United States Danny Sullivan Galles/Kraco Racing (5) Galmer Chevrolet (7) Goodyear (15) 105 166.95 (268.679) 1:48:56 91.945 Report
1993 April 18 Canada Paul Tracy Team Penske Penske Chevrolet (8) Goodyear (16) 105 166.95 (268.679) 1:47:36 93.089 Report
1994 April 17 United States Al Unser Jr. (5) Team Penske (2) Penske (2) Ilmor Goodyear (17) 105 166.95 (268.679) 1:40:53 99.283 Report
1995 April 9 United States Al Unser Jr. (6) Team Penske (3) Penske (3) Mercedes-Benz Goodyear (18) 105 166.95 (268.679) 1:49:32 91.422 Report
1996 April 14 United States Jimmy Vasser Chip Ganassi Racing Reynard Honda Firestone 105 166.95 (268.679) 1:44:02 96.281 Report
1997 April 13 Italy Alex Zanardi Chip Ganassi Racing (2) Reynard (2) Honda (2) Firestone (2) 105 166.53 (268.004) 1:46:17 93.999 Report
1998 April 5 Italy Alex Zanardi (2) Chip Ganassi Racing (3) Reynard (3) Honda (3) Firestone (3) 105 165.27 (265.976) 1:51:29 88.946 Report
1999 April 18 Colombia Juan Pablo Montoya Chip Ganassi Racing (4) Reynard (4) Honda (4) Firestone (4) 85 155.04 (249.512) 1:45:48 87.915 Report
2000 April 16 Canada Paul Tracy (2) Team Green Reynard (5) Honda (5) Firestone (5) 82 161.376 (259.709) 1:57:11 82.626 Report
2001 April 8 Brazil Hélio Castroneves Team Penske (4) Reynard (6) Honda (6) Firestone (6) 82 161.376 (259.709) 1:52:17 86.223 Report
2002 April 14 United States Michael Andretti (2) Team Green (2) Reynard (7) Honda (7) Bridgestone 90 177.12 (285.047) 2:02:14 86.935 Report
2003 April 13 Canada Paul Tracy (3) Forsythe Racing Lola (8) FordCosworth (9) Bridgestone (2) 90 177.12 (285.047) 1:56:01 91.59 Report
2004 April 18 Canada Paul Tracy (4) Forsythe Racing (2) Lola (9) FordCosworth (10) Bridgestone (3) 81 159.408 (256.542) 1:44:12 91.785 Report
2005 April 10 France Sébastien Bourdais Newman/Haas Racing (4) Lola (10) FordCosworth (11) Bridgestone (4) 81 159.408 (256.542) 1:46:29 89.811 Report
2006 April 9 France Sébastien Bourdais (2) Newman/Haas Racing (5) Lola (11) FordCosworth (12) Bridgestone (5) 74 145.632 (234.371) 1:40:07 87.268 Report
2007 April 15 France Sébastien Bourdais (3) Newman/Haas/Lanigan Racing (6) Panoz Cosworth (13) Bridgestone (6) 78 153.504 (247.04) 1:40:43 91.432 Report
IndyCar Series
2008 April 20 Australia Will Power KV Racing Technology Panoz (2) Cosworth (14) Bridgestone (7) 83 163.344 (262.876) 1:45:25 92.964 Report
2009 April 19 United Kingdom Dario Franchitti Chip Ganassi Racing (5) Dallara Honda (8) Firestone (7) 85 167.28 (269.211) 1:58:47 84.491 Report
2010 April 18 United States Ryan Hunter-Reay Andretti Autosport Dallara (2) Honda (9) Firestone (8) 85 167.28 (269.211) 1:47:13 93.619 Report
2011 April 17 United Kingdom Mike Conway Andretti Autosport (2) Dallara (3) Honda (10) Firestone (9) 85 167.28 (269.211) 1:53:11 88.676 Report
2012 April 15 Australia Will Power (2) Team Penske (5) Dallara (4) Chevrolet (9) Firestone (10) 85 167.28 (269.211) 1:54:02 88.021 Report
2013 April 21 Japan Takuma Sato A. J. Foyt Enterprises Dallara (5) Honda (15) Firestone (11) 80 157.44 (253.375) 1:50:09 85.763 Report
2014 April 13 United Kingdom Mike Conway (2) Ed Carpenter Racing Dallara (6) Chevrolet (10) Firestone (12) 80 157.44 (253.375) 1:54:42 82.362 Report
2015 April 19 New Zealand Scott Dixon Chip Ganassi Racing (6) Dallara (7) Chevrolet (11) Firestone (13) 80 157.44 (253.375) 1:37:35 96.8 Report
2016 April 17 France Simon Pagenaud Team Penske (6) Dallara (8) Chevrolet (12) Firestone (14) 80 157.44 (253.375) 1:33:54 100.592 Report
2017 April 9 Canada James Hinchcliffe Schmidt Peterson Motorsports Dallara (9) Honda (16) Firestone (15) 85 167.28 (269.211) 1:50:29 90.845 Report
2018 April 15 United States Alexander Rossi Andretti Autosport (3) Dallara (10) Honda (17) Firestone (16) 85 167.28 (269.211) 1:53:15 88.622 Report
2019 April 14 United States Alexander Rossi (2) Andretti Autosport (4) Dallara (11) Honda (18) Firestone (17) 85 167.28 (269.211) 1:41:35 88.622 Report
2020 Canceled due to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic
  • The 2008 race was part of the IndyCar Series, but used cars and regulations from the Champ Car World Series.

Race summaries

Mario Andretti 1984
Mario Andretti won the Long Beach Grand Prix four times (1977, 1984, 1985, 1987).

CART PPG Indy Car World Series

  • 1984: After eight years, the Long Beach Grand Prix changed to a CART series race. The race served as the 1984 season opener. Mario Andretti, who won the 1977 race, won the pole position, took the lead at the start and led all 112 laps en route to a dominating victory. The only other driver to finish the race on the lead lap was Geoff Brabham, who finished second on only seven cylinders. Two-time World Champion Emerson Fittipaldi made his CART debut with a 4th-place finish.
  • 1985: Mario Andretti started on the pole position, and led the first 58 laps. Andretti's strategy was to try to complete the race on one pit stop. After building up an over 10-second lead, Andretti pitted on lap 44. In order to conserve fuel, however, he subsequently dialed back his turbocharger boost. Danny Sullivan had pitted on lap 37. With Andretti slowing his pace, Sullivan went on a charge, dicing through traffic and caught up to Andretti. On the back stretch on lap 59, Sullivan took the lead and began pulling out to a 15-second advantage. It was expected that the race would be decided between Sullivan and Andretti, with Sullivan needing one final pit stop, and Andretti gambling on going the distance. The Penske Team was planning a timed pit stop for Sullivan, hoping to fuel the car, and get back out on the track in close proximity to Andretti. On lap 79, Sullivan shockingly ran out of fuel coming out of the hairpin, and he coasted into the pits barely under power. Sullivan lost many seconds, allowing Andretti to re-take the lead. Andretti led the rest of the way and won at Long Beach for the second year in a row, and third time overall. Sullivan ran out of fuel again on the last lap, and wound up third.
  • 1986: Michael Andretti scored the first win of his CART series career, battling Al Unser Jr. to the finish over a frantic final 25 laps. Michael Andretti made his final pit stop on lap 56, while Al Unser Jr. pitted on lap 69. Unser came out of the pits just ahead of Andretti, but on cold tires, had difficulties holding off the challenge. Down the back stretch on lap 70, Andretti got by and re-assumed the lead. Unser stayed in close contact with Andretti, and on lap 80 when Andretti came upon the lapped car of Roberto Moreno, Unser closed dramatically. Andretti tried to lap Moreno at the end of the back stretch (turn 11), but the two cars nearly clipped wheels and Andretti locked up the brakes. Unser dove below both cars and went side by side with Andretti going into turn 12. Andretti barely held off Unser going into the hairpin. The cars battled nearly nose-to-tail to the finish, with Andretti winning the race by 0.380 seconds.
  • 1987: Mario Andretti started on the pole position and led all 95 laps, en route to his third CART series win at Long Beach, and fourth win overall. Andretti's victory marked the first-ever Indy car win for the IlmorChevy Indy V-8 engine. Mario Andretti's only serious challenge was from Emerson Fittipaldi. The drivers pulled away from the field and dominated the first half. Fittipaldi, however, suffered from a broken wastegate, and eventually dropped out with a burned piston on lap 52. Andretti cruised the rest of the way, lapping the field. For the third year in a row, Bobby Rahal dropped out early after contact with the concrete wall.
Al Unser Jr. won the Long Beach Grand Prix a record six times, including four in a row in 1988–1991, earning the nickname the "King of the Beach"
  • 1988: Al Unser Jr. snapped the Andretti family winning streak at Long Beach, winning the race for the first time, in dominating fashion. Unser Jr. started fourth, but at the start, settled into second behind Mario Andretti. Going into the hairpin at the end of the first lap, Unser dove below Andretti and took the lead. On his first pit stop, Unser suffered a cross-threaded lug nut, and dropped to sixth, putting Danny Sullivan into the lead. Unser charged, however, gaining nearly a second per lap, re-taking the lead for good on lap 42. Unser led 72 of the 95 laps, lapping the entire field, and when Sullivan dropped out on lap 82, was all alone to the finish. Bobby Rahal finished second, his best career Long Beach result, driving the Judd AV engine.
  • 1989: Al Unser Jr. led 72 of the first 74 laps, but late in the race, Unser found himself in a battle with Mario and Michael Andretti. All three drivers made their final pit stops, and after a faster pit stop, Mario Andretti emerged as the leader on lap 78, with Unser second, and Michael now a distant third. Unser was close behind Mario when they approached the lapped car of Tom Sneva. At the exit of turn two, and going into turn three, Unser dove under Mario Andretti for the lead, but punted Mario's right-rear wheel. Andretti was sent spinning out with a flat tire and broken suspension, while Unser broke part of his front wing, and bent his steering. Despite the damage, Unser nursed the crippled car to the finish line, winning by 12.377 seconds over Michael Andretti. The contact was controversial, and after the race, Mario called the move "stupid driving." Unser accepted blame for the contact.
  • 1990: Al Unser Jr. led 91 of 95 laps, but late in the race, had to hold off the challenge of Penske teammates Emerson Fittipaldi and Danny Sullivan for the victory. On lap 2, Fittipaldi and Sullivan banged wheels, causing Sullivan to spin and collect Michael Andretti. Both Sullivan and Andretti recovered and charged up through the field as the race went progressed. With Unser Jr. holding a 10-second lead, a caution came out on lap 66 which bunched the field and erased Unser's advantage. All of the leaders pitted, and when the green flag came back out on lap 70, Fittipaldi was able to close up behind Unser. Fittipaldi got within two car lengths, but Unser held on for the victory. After the early altercation, Danny Sullivan and Michael Andretti finished 3rd and 4th. It was Al Unser Jr.'s third consecutive win at Long Beach.
  • 1991: Al Unser Jr. set an event record and tied a CART series record, by winning the Long Beach Grand Prix for the fourth year in a row. The race, however, is best-remembered for a frightening pit road collision between Michael Andretti and Emerson Fittipaldi. Michael Andretti started on the pole and led the first lap, but Al Unser Jr. took the lead on lap 2. Unser stretched his lead to as large as 16 seconds, while Andretti ran second much of the afternoon. On lap 70, Unser and Andretti made their final pit stops. Unser returned to the track with the lead. While Andretti was exiting the pit lane, Emerson Fittipaldi came out of his pit stall in the path of Andretti. The two cars touched wheels, Andretti's car flew up on its side, then came to rest on top of Fittipaldi's sidepod. The two cars were too damaged to return, but neither driver was injured. After the pit road mishap, Unser cruised to victory, with his Galles/KRACO Racing teammate Bobby Rahal coming home second.
Paul Tracy 2009 Indy 500 Second Qual Day
Paul Tracy's first Indy car victory came at the 1993 Long Beach Grand Prix.
  • 1992: Going for an unprecedented fifth win in a row at Long Beach, Al Unser Jr. lead 54 laps, and was leading with less than four laps to go. His Galles/KRACO Racing teammate Danny Sullivan was right behind in second, challenging for the lead in the closing laps. Bobby Rahal and Emerson Fittipaldi were also nose-to-tail with the leaders. Going down the back stretch on lap 102, Sullivan dove low to make the pass, but Unser closed the door. The two cars tangled, and Unser was sent spinning out into a tire barrier. Sullivan took the lead, and staved off Rahal and Fittpaldi to the finish line. It was the first ever win for the Galmer chassis, and Sullivan's first Indy car win since 1990. Unser Jr. recovered from the spin, and finished in 4th place. The race started out on the first lap with a collision between Mario Andretti and Eddie Cheever, which started a standing feud between the two.
  • 1993: Paul Tracy won his first career Indy car race, battling Nigel Mansell most of the afternoon. Tracy led 81 of the 105 laps, but his day was not without incident. While leading the race on lap 25, he clipped wheels with Danny Sullivan, and was forced to pit with a flat tire. Later on lap 61, he had to make an unscheduled pit stop for a blistered tire. Tracy re-assumed the lead on lap 74 after Mansell made his final pit stop, and when Mansell later lost second gear, Tracy cruised to the finish. Bobby Rahal, running 11th at the halfway point, finished 2nd in the RH chassis, owing much to the fact that Mansell, Scott Goodyear, Mario Andretti, Raul Boesel all suffered contact or mechanical problems late in the race.
  • 1994: Al Unser Jr., who had joined Team Penske during the offseason, won his first race driving for his new team, and his record fifth victory at Long Beach. Penske teammates Paul Tracy, Unser, and Emerson Fittipaldi started 1st, 2nd, and 3rd, respectively, and combined to lead all but two laps. Tracy and Fittipaldi led early, but both eventually dropped out with gearbox failures. Tracy spun four times due to the axle-hopping from the gearbox issues, including spinning out while leading the race on lap 20. Unser led 61 laps, and despite a black flag penalty for violating the pit road speed limit, won the race going away. Nigel Mansell finished second, but had lost considerable time when he and Michael Andretti made contact, resulting in a flat tire.
  • 1995: Al Unser Jr. started fourth, and charged to the lead by lap 30. Unser dominated most of the rest of the race, and won his sixth Long Beach Grand Prix in the past eight years. Scott Pruett finished second for Patrick Racing, the best finish for Firestone tires since returning to Indy car racing at the beginning of the season. Contenders Bobby Rahal (transmission), Christian Fittipaldi (engine), and Teo Fabi (stop-and-go penalty) all fell from contention in the latter stages of the race.
  • 1996: Gil de Ferran won the pole position and dominated the race, leading 100 of the first 101 laps. With four laps to go, however, a turbocharger hose came loose, and de Ferrans's car suddenly began to slow. Jimmy Vasser led the final four laps, holding off Parker Johnstone for the victory.
  • 1997: Gil de Ferran and Alex Zanardi started on the front row, and battled much of the afternoon. Though de Ferran appeared to have the faster machine, Zanardi's Ganassi crew executed faster pit stops, which put Zanardi out in front after each sequences of stops. Charging hard to catch Zanardi, de Ferran clipped the wall on lap 93, and fell out with a damaged suspension.

CART FedEx Championship Series

Alex Zanardi at Laguna Seca
Alex Zanardi won back-to-back races at Long Beach in 1997 and 1998.
Michael Andretti 2007 Michigan
Michael Andretti's first career Indy car victory (1986) and final victory (2002) both came at Long Beach.
  • 1998: Alex Zanardi scored an improbable victory, winning at Long Beach for the second year in a row. Zanardi fell a lap down early in the race after a collision resulted in a bent steering arm. The race lead was being contested between Bryan Herta, Gil de Ferran, Dario Franchitti, and Hélio Castroneves. With a race-record seven cautions, Zanardi managed to get back on the lead lap and slowly worked his way up through the field. On lap 72, Zanardi pitted for tires and fuel, while most of the leaders stayed out since they had just pitted on lap 56. In the closing stages, all of the leaders except Zanardi were facing a splash-and-go pit stop for fuel. After the leaders cycled through their stops, Herta and Frachitti emerged 1st-2nd, with Zanardi now in third, and charging hard. With five laps to go, the top three were nose-to-tail, and Zanardi passed for second. Three laps later, he took the lead. Zanardi led only the final two laps to steal the win.
  • 1999: Rookie Juan Pablo Montoya won his first-career Champ/Indy car race, in his third career start, giving Chip Ganassi Racing the team's fourth consecutive victory at Long Beach, in front of a record crowd of 102,000. Montoya started the race fifth, and one by one, picked off the top three cars to move into second behind race leader Tony Kanaan. On lap 46, due to the track breaking up, Kanaan lost control and slid off the course and into a tire barrier. The crash handed the lead to Montoya, who led the rest of the way to victory.
  • 2000: Paul Tracy started 17th, but steadily climbed to the front of the field, taking the lead on lap 62 to win at Long Beach for the second time. Tracy benefited from strong pit strategy, swift pit work, and an aggressive charge, and managed to put himself in third on lap 58. On a restart with rookie Takuya Kurosawa leading, Roberto Moreno second, and Tracy third, Moreno suddenly slowed with gearbox trouble. Tracy muscled past Kurosawa four laps later, and held off Hélio Castroneves for the victory.
  • 2001: Hélio Castroneves started from the pole position and led all 82 lap to victory. Despite leading wire-to-wire, Castroneves did not run away with the race, with Cristiano da Matta and Kenny Bräck in close pursuit most of the day. After Brack dropped out with a broken gearbox on lap 30, the race was a two-man battle between Castroneves and da Matta. Castroneves staved off numerous overtake attempts by da Matta in the second half. The margin of victory was a mere 0.534 seconds, one of the closest finishes in Long Beach history.
  • 2002: Michael Andretti won the 2002 Grand Prix of Long Beach, his 42nd and final career Indy/Champ car victory. The win came nearly sixteen years to the day of his first career Indy car win – at the same race – the 1986 Long Beach Grand Prix. Andretti started 15th and gambled by pitting out-of-sequence, as did Max Papis. Andretti assumed the lead on lap 62 when the rest of the leaders cycled through routine green flag pit stops. Andretti and Papis led Jimmy Vasser by over 30 seconds, but both still needed one final pit stop for fuel. A full-course caution came out on lap 63, and both drivers took advantage of the break. Meanwhile, Vasser slowed down to be picked up by the pace car, not realizing he was not the race leader, and actually running third. Vasser slowing down gave Andretti and Papis extra time and allowed them to pit without giving up first and second position. Vasser managed to get by Papis when the green came back out, but Andretti held on for the win.
  • 2003: Michel Jourdain Jr. looked poised to win his first-career CART series race, but mechanical problems foiled his chances at victory. Jourdain started on the pole, but Paul Tracy took the lead at the start and led the first 26 laps. After pit stops, Jourdain assumed the lead on lap 27, and mostly dominated the race over the next 49 laps. The race came down to Jourdain and Tracy, with both drivers needing one final pit stop in the final ten laps. Tracy pitted with 8 laps to go, and came back out on the track still in second place, ahead of Adrián Fernández. Jourdain pitted one lap later, but as he was leaving the pits, the car failed to pull away. A faulty clutch dropped him out of the race, and handed the victory to Tracy. It was Tracy's third win at Long Beach, and he became the first driver in CART history to sweep the first three races of the season.

Champ Car World Series

Sebastien Bourdais 2005 Long Beach
Sébastien Bourdais won three years in a row (2005, 2006, 2007).
  • 2004: Paul Tracy won the 30th Long Beach Grand Prix, his fourth victory in the event, and second in a row. At the start, Tracy utilized the new Push-to-pass button to boldly dive from third to first in the first turn. Tracy ran away with the race, giving up the lead only once during a routine pit stop. On lap 2, three cars (Jimmy Vasser, Alex Sperafico, and Tarso Marques) crashed, bringing out the lone caution of the day.
  • 2005: Sébastien Bourdais worked his way from fourth starting position to the lead by lap 30. Bourdais pulled out to as much as a 7-second lead, and controlled the race most of the way thereafter. A late caution bunched the field, and second place Paul Tracy was on the optional tires, while Bourdais was on the primary tires. Bourdais got the jump on the restart and went on to win, while Tracy became mired behind a lapped car and finished second. The race was held under a cloud of uncertainty, as it was in its final contract year with CART/Champ Car. Rumors were swirling around the paddock that the event might switch to the Indy Racing League for 2006.
  • 2006: After rumors of a possible switch to IRL, the race returned as part of the Champ Car series. Sébastien Bourdais won for the second year in a row, starting from the pole and leading 70 of the 74 laps. He finished 14 seconds ahead of second place Justin Wilson.
  • 2007: Sébastien Bourdais led 58 of 78 laps, dominating en route to his third consecutive Long Beach victory. Paul Tracy crashed during practice on Saturday and sat out with a back injury. He was replaced by Oriol Servia. Will Power passed Alex Tagliani on the last lap to finish second.
  • 2008: The 2008 Long Beach Grand Prix was the first to take place after the open wheel unification, and it considered the final race of the Champ Car era. After the IndyCar and Champ Car calendars were hastily merged, an irreconcilable scheduling conflict arose between Long Beach and the Indy Japan 300. A compromise was made such that the former Champ Car teams competed at Long Beach, while established IndyCar Series teams competed at Motegi. Both races would pay full points to the IndyCar championship, and while Long Beach technically now fell under the sanctioning umbrella of IndyCar, it was run with Champ Car regulations, and was heralded as the "final" Champ Car race. The contingent of former Champ Car teams produced a twenty-car field, all utilizing the turbocharged Cosworth/Panoz DP01 for the final time. From a standing start (the first such at Long Beach since 1983), Will Power got the jump from fourth position to take the lead into turn one. Power led 81 of the 83 laps, relinquishing the top position only during pit stops.

IndyCar Series

Mike Conway Driver of Toyota Gazoo Racing's Toyota TS050 Hybrid (27156709091) (2)
Mike Conway won twice at Long Beach (2011, 2014).
Takuma Sato - August 2014 - Sarah Stierch
Takuma Sato won first first-career Indy car race at Long Beach in 2013.
  • 2009: Will Power took the lead from the pole position and led the first 16 laps. Dario Franchitti and Danica Patrick both pitted early on lap 16, and benefited from a full-course caution. Over the next 30 laps, the lead traded between Tony Kanaan, Marco Andretti, and Dario Franchitti. Pitting early once more, Dario Franchitti and Danica Patrick again benefited. Moments later, Mike Conway spun into the tire barrier in turn 8, bringing out the full course caution again. Most of the leaders pit under the yellow, while Franchitti stayed out to take the lead. Franchitti pulled away and held the lead to the finish, taking the victory. It was his first IndyCar win since 2007, having spent 2008 racing in NASCAR.
  • 2010: Will Power starting on the pole position, and led the race early. On lap 17, Power errored, when he inadvertently hit the pit road speed limiter button. Ryan Hunter-Reay and Justin Wilson slipped by and Power dropped to third. On a restart on lap 65, Hunter-Reay led, with Power second, and Wilson third. Hunter-Reay had lapped traffic between him and Power and was able to pull out to a comfortable lead. Power, struggling to get through traffic, was passed by Wilson for second. Wilson was not able to close the gap, and Hunter-Reay drove on to victory.
  • 2011: With less than 20 laps to go, Mike Conway charged into third place on a restart. He quickly powered past Dario Franchitti and Will Power to take the lead. Conway pulled out to a six-second advantage, and led the final 14 laps en route to his first Indy car victory.
  • 2012: Just days prior to the race, Chevrolet announced that all eleven of their entries would change engines, in violation of IndyCar's mileage requirement rule. As a penalty, all of the Chevrolet entries would incur a 10-position grid penalty after time trials. At the start, Dario Franchitti and rookie Josef Newgarden battled into turn one. Newgarden tried to take the lead on the outside, but the two cars clipped slightly, and Newgarden smacked the tire barrier and crashed out of the race. Franchitti took the lead for the first four laps, but quickly faded with handling problems. The race became a contest between rookie Simon Pagenaud and Will Power, with Takuma Sato also strong all afternoon. Power made his final pit stop on lap 64, and attempted to stretch his fuel over the final 21 laps. Pagenaud pitted on lap 70, and seemingly had plenty of fuel to charge to the finish. As Power held the lead, Pagenaud dramatically charged to catch Power, gaining 1–2 seconds per lap. The cars were nose-to-tail in the hairpin as they approached the white flag. Power held off on the final lap to win by 0.8 seconds. Despite the grid penalties, Chevrolet-powered cars swept eight of the top ten finishing positions.
  • 2013: Takuma Sato led 50 of 80 laps, and won his first career IndyCar race. Sato effectively took control of the race on lap 23, when he passed Ryan Hunter-Reay for second place in turn 1. After the leaders cycled through pit stops, Sato assumed the lead on lap 31, and did not relinquish the top spot for the remainder of the race. Sato's win was the first for A. J. Foyt Enterprises since 2002.
  • 2014: On lap 56, a controversial crash took out six cars, including the drivers running 1st–2nd–3rd. During a sequence of green flag pit stops, Josef Newgarden inherited the lead. Ryan Hunter-Reay, James Hinchcliffe, and Will Power were running nose-to-tail in 2nd–3rd–4th. Newgarden completed his pit stop, and came out on the track just ahead of Hunter-Reay, momentarily holding on to the lead. Going into turn 4, Hunter-Reay attempted a risky pass for the lead, and he made contact with Newgarden, sending both cars into the wall. Hinchcliffe was collected, as was three other cars in the huge melee that nearly blocked the track. Late in the race, Scott Dixon led, followed by Mike Conway and Power close behind. Dixon ran out of fuel, and had to pit with two laps to go. Conway held off Power and Carlos Muñoz to win for the second time at Long Beach.
  • 2015: During the first sequence of green flag pit stops on lap 29, leader Hélio Castroneves was briefly held in his pit box to avoid collision with Tony Kanaan, who was entering the stall just ahead. The delay cost Castroneves valuable track position, and allowed Scott Dixon to take over the lead. During the second round of pit stops on lap 55, Dixon was narrowly able to hold the lead, and cruised to victory, his first career win at Long Beach. With Dixon comfortably out in front, and Castroneves in second, the closing laps focused on a furious four-car battle for third place, led by Juan Pablo Montoya and Simon Pagenaud. Fifth place went to Tony Kanaan.
  • 2016: Hélio Castroneves led 49 of the first 51 laps. During the second round of stops, Scott Dixon was able to pass Castroneves with quick pit work. However, Simon Pagenaud's pit stop was even faster, and he emerged with the lead of the race. Controversy followed, as Pagenaud placed two tires over the blend line at the exit of pit lane while trying to beat Dixon to turn one. IndyCar officials let Pagenaud off with a warning for the incident, despite protests from Chip Ganassi Racing. Pagenaud held off Dixon by 0.3032 seconds, the closest finish in Long Beach history.
  • 2017: James Hinchcliffe won for the first time since his serious crash during practice at the 2015 Indianapolis 500. In the late stages of the race, Andretti Autosport teammates Alexander Rossi, Takuma Sato, and Ryan Hunter-Reay all dropped out with mechanical problems, leaving Hinchcliffe to battle Sébastien Bourdais and Josef Newgarden to the finish. On a restart with three laps to go, Hinchcliffe got the jump and held on for the victory.

Other race winners

Road to Indy


Year GTO GTU Report
1990 United States Dorsey Schroeder
Mercury Cougar
United States John Finger
Mazda MX-6
1991 New Zealand Steve Millen
Nissan 300ZX
United States John Fergus
Dodge Daytona

Rolex Sports Car Series

Rolex Sports Car Series
Year Drivers Car Report
2006 United States Scott Pruett
Mexico Luis Díaz
Riley Mk XX–Lexus Report

American Le Mans Series

Year LMP1 LMP2 GT1 GT2 Report
2007 Italy Rinaldo Capello
United Kingdom Allan McNish
Audi R10 TDI
France Romain Dumas
Germany Timo Bernhard
Porsche RS Spyder
United Kingdom Oliver Gavin
Monaco Olivier Beretta
Chevrolet Corvette C6.R
Finland Mika Salo
Brazil Jaime Melo
Ferrari F430GT
2008 Germany Marco Werner
Germany Lucas Luhr
Audi R10 TDI
United States Scott Sharp
Australia David Brabham
Acura ARX-01b
United States Johnny O'Connell
Denmark Jan Magnussen
Chevrolet Corvette C6.R
Germany Dominik Farnbacher
Germany Dirk Müller
Ferrari F430GT
2009 Brazil Gil de Ferran
France Simon Pagenaud
Acura ARX-02a
Mexico Adrián Fernández
Mexico Luis Díaz
Acura ARX-01b
United Kingdom Oliver Gavin
Monaco Olivier Beretta
Chevrolet Corvette C6.R
United States Patrick Long
Germany Jörg Bergmeister
Porsche 911 GT3-RSR
2010 Australia David Brabham
France Simon Pagenaud
United States Elton Julian
United States Gunnar Jeannette
Oreca FLM09/Chevrolet
United States Patrick Long
Germany Jörg Bergmeister
Porsche 911 GT3-RSR
Mexico Juan González
United States Butch Leitzinger
Porsche 997 GT3 Cup
2011 Germany Klaus Graf
Germany Lucas Luhr
Lola-Aston Martin B09/60
United States Scott Tucker
France Christophe Bouchut
United States Gunnar Jeannette
Mexico Ricardo González
Oreca FLM09/Chevrolet
Germany Dirk Müller
United States Joey Hand
United States Tim Pappas
Netherlands Jeroen Bleekemolen
Porsche 997 GT3 Cup
2012 Germany Klaus Graf
Germany Lucas Luhr
United States Scott Tucker
France Christophe Bouchut
Venezuela Alex Popow
United Kingdom Ryan Dalziel
Oreca FLM09/Chevrolet
United Kingdom Oliver Gavin
United States Tommy Milner
Chevrolet Corvette C6 ZR1
United States Peter LeSaffre
Republic of Ireland Damien Faulkner
Porsche 997 GT3 Cup
2013 Germany Klaus Graf
Germany Lucas Luhr
United States Scott Sharp
United States Guy Cosmo
United States Jon Bennett
United States Colin Braun
Oreca FLM09/Chevrolet
United States Bill Auberlen
Belgium Maxime Martin
United Kingdom Sean Edwards
United States Henrique Cisneros
Porsche 997 GT3 Cup

IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship

Year Prototype Prototype Challenge GT Le Mans GT Daytona Report
2014 United States Scott Pruett
Mexico Memo Rojas
Riley DP/Ford
did not participate Spain Antonio García
Denmark Jan Magnussen
Chevrolet Corvette C7.R
did not participate Report
2015 United States Ricky Taylor
United States Jordan Taylor
Corvette DP/Chevrolet
did not participate Germany Dirk Werner
United States Bill Auberlen
did not participate Report
2016 United States Ricky Taylor
United States Jordan Taylor
Corvette DP/Chevrolet
Canada Misha Goikhberg
South Africa Stephen Simpson
Oreca FLM09/Chevrolet
France Patrick Pilet
United Kingdom Nick Tandy
Porsche 911 RSR
did not participate Report
2017 United States Ricky Taylor
United States Jordan Taylor
Cadillac DPi-V.R
did not participate United Kingdom Oliver Gavin
United States Tommy Milner
Chevrolet Corvette C7.R
United States Gunnar Jeannette
United States Cooper MacNeil
Mercedes-AMG GT3
2018 Portugal João Barbosa
Portugal Filipe Albuquerque
Cadillac DPi-V.R
did not participate United Kingdom Oliver Gavin
United States Tommy Milner
Chevrolet Corvette C7.R
did not participate Report
2019 Portugal Filipe Albuquerque
Portugal João Barbosa
Cadillac DPi-V.R
did not participate New Zealand Earl Bamber
Belgium Laurens Vanthoor
Porsche 911 RSR
did not participate Report
2020 Canceled due to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic
  • Overall winners in bold

Stadium Super Trucks

Year Date Driver Ref
2013 April 21 United States Justin Lofton
2014 April 13 United States Robby Gordon
2015 April 19 Venezuela E. J. Viso
2016 April 16 United States Sheldon Creed
April 17
2017 April 8 Australia Matthew Brabham
April 9 United States Robby Gordon
2018 April 14 United States Gavin Harlien
April 15 Australia Matthew Brabham
2019 April 13 Australia Matthew Brabham
April 14 United States Robby Gordon
2020 Canceled due to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic


2005 Long Beach Grand Prix, showing turn 10 and the Long Beach skyline, including the Villa Riviera.

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