By Luis Torres, Staff Writer
It’s the dawn of a new era for the prestigious street circuit in Southern California as the Grand Prix Association of Long Beach announced Tuesday that Acura will become the new multi-year title sponsor for the Grand Prix of Long Beach this year, replacing Toyota, who ended their 44-year relationship last August.
Acura has been heavily involved in the world of motorsports, including their return to North American sports car racing as Team Penske’s DPi and Meyer Shank Racing’s GTD run the Japanese luxury brand in the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship.
The title sponsor deal came at a perfect time as both Acura and American parent Honda have their U.S. headquarters located in Torrance, California, slightly over 30 minutes away from the 1.968-mile circuit.
Momentum has favored the Honda-powered NTT IndyCar Series teams as they’ve won six out of the last 10 races, including back-to-back victories with James Hinchcliffe in 2017 and reigning winner Alexander Rossi.
Acura Vice President and General Manager Jon Ikeda said he’s excited to have a multi-year agreement at their home taking place April 12-14.
“With our U.S. headquarters nearby in Torrance, this is a true ‘home’ event for the Acura brand,” said Ikeda. “The Grand Prix of Long Beach is one of North America’s premier motorsports events, and an institution in Southern California. Acura is delighted and proud to be associated with the Grand Prix of Long Beach, and we look forward to a long and successful partnership.”
Entering their 45th year hosting a grand prix (36th for IndyCar) at the “Aquatic Capital of America,” President and CEO of the Grand Prix Association of Long Beach Jim Michaelian said they hope their partnership can continue their excellence of hosting the biggest street race in the country.
“This is truly the start of a new era in the history of the Grand Prix,” said Michaelian. “As we enter our 45th of conducting America’s #1 street race, we are looking forward with great enthusiasm to this new partnership with a premium luxury brand like Acura. Together we will explore new ways to elevate the Acura Grand Prix of Long Beach to greater heights in the coming years.”
The race weekend will be jam packed with all type of racing as not only IndyCar will host the 85-lap main event, but both IMSA and Stadium SUPER Trucks will also return on the calendar. With the BUBBA Burger Sports Car Grand Prix being held on Saturday and the two truck races being held both Saturday and Sunday afternoons.
In addition to the three major events, both Friday and Saturday nights will also feature the Motegi Racing Super Drift Challenge, and last but not least, the Pirelli GT4 America series and the Historic IMSA GTO Challenge will have their cars hit the circuit.