New Dates Break With Tradition While Also Going Back To The Race’s Roots
Published Dec. 18, 2020
In a break with tradition, the 2021 Long Beach Grand Prix will take place in September, rather than its customary time in April.
Officially called the Acura Grand Prix of Long Beach, the dates are Sept. 24-26. The reason is, of course, COVID-19 issues relating to staging large-scale events in California until a vaccine is readily available in Southern California.
And while the fall dates breaks with tradition, it also goes back to the event’s roots. The very first race was held in September 1975. It was a trial event, a Formula 5000 race, to see if it was a viable location for a Formula 1 race. It was and the event became a fixture on the first or second weekend of April on the Southern California events calendar.
The race has been held every year since with the exception of 2020 when it joined a long list of events canceled due to the pandemic. It is now a fixture on the NTT IndyCar Series schedule. The 2021 event will be the 37th time the IndyCars race along the waterfront course in downtown Long Beach.
“It is important to have Long Beach rescheduled to continue the history and tradition for one of the series’ hallmark events in one of the nation’s premier media markets,” Penske Entertainment Corp. President and CEO Mark Miles said.
“Further, it’s a tremendous opportunity to wrap up the season with three-straight iconic venues for what we believe will be our most exciting season yet. As we did during the 2020 season, we will continue to monitor the COVID-19 situation and maintain flexibility across our schedule. We are committed to an action-packed and exhilarating 2021 NTT INDYCAR SERIES.”
Long Beach will, for the first time, be the final event on the series’ schedule. It also wraps up a West Coast swing that includes races at Portland International Raceway on Sunday, Sept. 12 and at WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca on Sunday, Sept. 19.
For a full history of the Grand Prix, click the link on this PubClub article and also watch this lifestream video featuring five-time winner Mario Andretti and six-time winner (and “King of the Beach”) Al Unser, Jr. The show also features founder Chris Pook and book author Gordon Kirby, who has written a detailed book about the Grand Prix’s history. I am the moderator.