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49th Acura Grand Prix Long Beach opens to fans Friday with qualifying and practice rounds

Acura Grand Prix of Long Beach: SoCal Spotlight:
Acura Grand Prix of Long Beach: SoCal Spotlight 04:18

Race weekend is underway as the gates for the 49th Acura Grand Prix Long Beach opened to fans early Friday morning.

It's the beginning of the annual three-day spring event, where the streets of downtown Long Beach convert to a 1.97 mile, 11-turn racecourse, and Friday, the qualifying and practice sessions kick things off.

More than 192,000 fans attended the race in 2023, the event's highest attendance since the 2008 Indy car "reunification."

"We had a very successful event last year with the best attendance of the modern era," Long Beach President and CEO Jim Michaelian said.

"With the addition of the sports cars of GT America, the vintage Indy car race and a free-to-participate racing simulator tournament from new sponsor Cooler Master, we think this year's Acura Grand Prix will be an even more appealing weekend."

This year's event features six racing series, GT America sports cars, Super STADIUM trucks, the sliding and tire-burning Super Drift Challenge, the Historic Indy Cars proving a flashback to the Grand Prix's storied past, the IMSA WeatherTech Sports Car Championship and the NTT INDYCAR SERIES.

Friday's practice sessions begin for Saturday and Sunday's GT America sprint races from 7:45 to 8:15 a.m. A second practice session takes place from 11:30 a.m. to noon, with qualifying set for 4:25 to 4:40 p.m.

Practices for the IMSA sports car races will be from 9 to 10 a.m. and 12:50 to 2:20 p.m., with qualifying set for 5 to 5:50 p.m.

A practice session for Saturday and Sunday's Stadium Super Trucks races will be from 12:15 to 12:35 p.m.

The initial part of the drifting competition will be from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. In drifting, drivers intentionally maneuver their cars into controlled sideways slides at high speeds and winning is based on execution and style. The final portion will be from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. Saturday.

Friday race ticket holders get to enjoy The Ape Drums concert for free,  beginning around 6:30 p.m. on the plaza in front of the TerraceTheater, next to the Long Beach Convention Center.

Acura Grand Prix ticket prices range from $40 for a Friday General Admission ticket to $185 for a three-day ticket that includes Saturday and Sunday reserved seating in grandstand upper levels. Children 12 years and under will be admitted free with a ticketed adult.

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