Wednesday, February 20, 2013

K-Rail Blocks And The Toyota Grand Prix Of Long Beach Are A Match Made In Motor Culture Heaven

Green flags were set flying along Shoreline Drive signaling the start of construction for the 39th Annual Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach, which will run April 19-21, 2013 (L to R - Jim Michaelian, Bob Foster, Jim Liaw, Stephan Papadakis). Image Credit: TGPLB

K-Rail Blocks And The Toyota Grand Prix Of Long Beach Are A Match Made In Motor Culture Heaven

Yesterday, February 19, 2013, the 39th Toyota Grand Prix got underway in earnest. The process is the same every year and it would never happen without K-Rails. The temporary track through the streets of Long Beach, California got started with a ceremony before noon near Turn 10. It's the time of year where the demand for 'K-Rails' begins to increase as the temporary street circuit for the first race of the 2013 IZOD IndyCar Series season in St. Petersburg, Florida began just last week.

Sebastien Bourdais (third from left) has a tangible countdown to the IZOD IndyCar Series season-opening Honda Grand Prix of St. Petersburg every time he rides his bike on portions of the 1.8-mile, 14-turn circuit. Construction of the temporary street circuit for the ninth annual event March 22-24 began Feb. 15, 2013. Image Credit:

The honorary construction foremen for the ceremony were Long Beach Mayor Bob Foster, Papadakis Racing owner Stephan Papadakis, Formula DRIFT President & Co-Founder Jim Liaw and Grand Prix Association of Long Beach President & CEO Jim Michaelian. Also on-hand were the Papadakis Racing Scion tC, which will be driven in 2013 by top Drifting driver Frederic Aasbo, and, courtesy of Toyota Motorsports, an all-new, race-prepared Scion FR-S that will be driven in the 2013 Toyota Pro/Celebrity Race.

“Our race circuit will feature something extra this year as we will be hosting the first-ever night racing in the Motegi Racing Super Drift Challenge on Friday and Saturday,” said Michaelian. “Along with the six other racing events here in April, this should make for one of the most entertaining weekends in our history.”

The setting of the first of more than 14 million pounds of concrete K-Rail blocks that line the 1.97 mile, 11-turn temporary street circuit track marks the beginning of two months of work preparing for the 175,000 fans expected during race weekend. Image Credit: Edmund Jenks (2012)

“It’s three days of great parties and great racing,” said Foster. “The Grand Prix brings a lot of people to Long Beach. Our hotels get filled up, our restaurants get filled up and people understand that Long Beach is a really a great city, a great place to have a good time.”

More than 30,000 working hours will be spent installing the  K-Rail blocks, three miles of fencing and 16,000 bolted-together tires, along with 16 huge spectator grandstands, seven pedestrian bridges and giant-vision boards for full-circuit TV coverage.

The heavy-duty concrete blocks and fencing, however, are merely a start.

“Leading up to race weekend, our staff will also install hospitality suites, tents, electrical equipment, phones, porta-johns, trash containers and a hundred other little things up until race weekend,” said Dwight Tanaka, director of operations for the Grand Prix Association.  “Then, when the last checkered flag falls on Sunday night, we start to take everything down, inspect it and get ready for next year.”

All businesses along the race circuit, which includes Shoreline Drive, Aquarium Way and Pine Ave., will remain open during construction of the racetrack.

Race fans will certainly get an eyeful as the Stadium SUPER Trucks go to battle, powered by 600-horsepower engines, going door-to-door on the 11-turn, 1.97-mile street course circuit for this special one-of-a-kind event. The Grand Prix exhibition will serve as the build-up to the Robby Gordon OFF-ROAD Stadium SUPER Trucks event scheduled the following weekend (April 26-27) at the famed L.A. Memorial Coliseum. The series then moves to San Diego’s Qualcomm Stadium on May 4 and May 18 for two thrilling venues to round out the commemorative California portion of the inaugural 2013 season. Image Credit: TGPLB

The 2013 Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach will feature racing from the IZOD IndyCar Series, Tequila PatrĂ³n American Le Mans Series, Firestone Indy Lights, Pirelli World Challenge, Formula DRIFT, Robby Gordon OFF-ROAD Stadium SUPER Trucks and the Toyota Pro/Celebrity Race.


Fans can select and pay for their seats, parking and paddock passes online at  Tickets can also be ordered by calling the toll-free ticket hotline, (888) 82-SPEED, and callers can request a printed ticket brochure that includes a circuit map, ticket prices, order form and other information.  Also featured on is the latest Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach news, downloadable ticket brochure and racetrack information, photos and ongoing announcements of special race week activities.

Ticket prices range from $28 for a Friday General Admission ticket to $130 for a three-day ticket that includes Sat./Sun. reserved seating in grandstand upper levels.  Pre-paid parking packages are also available, along with handicapped seating, IndyCar Paddock passes, Super Photo tickets and a wide variety of Hospitality Club packages.

Fans can also follow the Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach on Facebook at GrandPrixLB and on Twitter @ToyotaGPLB.

The track takes shape on the streets of downtown Long Beach surrounding the Long Beach Convention and Entertainment Center and encompassing the Aquarium of the Pacific and a portion of the Pike at Rainbow Harbor complex. The start/finish line is on Shoreline Drive.

For the Southern California automobile race enthusiast, motor culture heaven begins Friday through Sunday, April 19-21, 2013 with the 39th Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach on 1.97 miles of pavement defined between the lines of K-Rail blocks of concrete.

... notes from The EDJE

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