From an oval perspective, the IndyCar Series goes hand-in-hand with no track more than the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. But from a street circuit perspective, it is near impossible to find a circuit more suited to the American open-wheel landscape more than the venue this weekend: Long Beach, California.
Our resident IndyCar correspondent Matt Lennon previews the action ahead of this weekend’s running of the Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach…
|Date:||13-15 April 2012|
|Lap Length:||1.968 miles / 3.167km|
|IndyCar Lap Record:||1:09.0650, Will Power (Dallara Honda) – 2011|
|Event Schedule:||Free Practice Session 1||Fri 10:00-11:00|
|Free Practice Session 2||Fri 14:15-15:15|
|Free Practice Session 3||Sat 10:25-11:25|
|Qualifying Session||Sat 14:00-15:45|
|Sunday Warm-Up||Sun 09:15-09:45|
|Race (85 laps, 167 miles)||Sun 13:15-15:15|
|Past IndyCar Winners:||Mike Conway (Andretti Autosport Dallara Honda)||2011|
|Ryan Hunter-Reay (Andretti Autosport Dallara Honda)||2010|
|Dario Franchitti (Chip Ganassi Dallara Honda)||2009|
Envisaged by local entrepreneur Chris Pook, the first Long Beach Grand Prix was a Formula 5000 race, but the potential of a street track by the harbour in a well-populated and well-attended part of suburban Los Angeles was enough to attract Formula 1 the following year, with luminaries such as Clay Regazzoni, Gilles Villeneuve, Nelson Piquet and Niki Lauda – not to mention Aussie racing legend and friend of RichardsF1.com, Alan Jones – all among the winners here over the existence of Formula 1 at Long Beach.
Unwanted by Formula 1 after the 1983 event, the fans in the southern California area were not to be deprived of an annual motorsport event and the IndyCar Series stepped up to the plate. The series has been a staple in the annual sporting and entertainment schedule of Long Beach each year since.
The Players & Form Guide
2012 IndyCar Series Championship Entry List (Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach):
(R) Denotes ‘Rookie Class’ driver. Entry list is subject to final confirmation.
Combine the prestige of the Long Beach event with one of the most competitive IndyCar fields in history and you have a recipe for another classic.
Mike Conway returns this year as the defending race champion, while Marco Andretti can become the first third-generation winner of the event this weekend.
But with two wins in the first two rounds, is Team Penske still the outfit everyone is chasing?