Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach Fast Facts
Race weekend: Friday, April 7 – Sunday, April 9
Track: 1.968-mile, 11-turn temporary street course (clockwise) in Long Beach, California
Race distance: 85 laps / 167.28 miles
Entry List: Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach (PDF)
Push-to-pass parameters: 200 seconds of total time with a maximum time of 20 seconds per activation.
Firestone tire allotment: Six sets primary, four sets alternate
Twitter: @ToyotaGPLB @IndyCar, #TGPLB, #IndyCar
Event website: www.gplb.com
INDYCAR website: www.IndyCar.com
2016 race winner: Simon Pagenaud (No. 22 PPG Automotive Refinish Team Penske Chevrolet)
2016 Verizon P1 Award winner: Helio Castroneves (No. 3 Auto Club of Southern California Chevrolet), 1:07.1246, 105.547 mph
Qualifying lap record: Helio Castroneves, 1:06.6294, 106.331 mph, April 18, 2015
NBCSN race broadcast: Sunday, April 9 (4 p.m. ET)
NBCSN qualifying broadcast: Saturday, April 8 (7:30 p.m. ET, taped)
NBCSN practice broadcast: Friday, April 7 (5 p.m. ET, live)
Rick Allen will be the play-by-play announcer for NBCSN’s broadcast of the Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach alongside analysts Townsend Bell and Paul Tracy. Marty Snider, Kevin Lee, Katie Hargitt and Robin Miller are the pit reporters.
Radio broadcasts: The Advance Auto Parts INDYCAR Radio Network is led by chief announcer Mark Jaynes, with analyst Davey Hamilton. Turn reporters are Jake Query and Nick Yeoman, with Rob Howden and Michael Young reporting from the pits. All Verizon IndyCar Series races are broadcast live on the Advance Auto Parts INDYCAR Radio Network, Sirius 212, XM 209, IndyCar.com, indycarradio.com and on the INDYCAR Mobile app.
Video Streaming: All practice sessions not televised by NBCSN will be availableRaceControl.IndyCar.com and on the INDYCAR YouTube channel (www.youtube.com/indycar)
INDYCAR Mobile app: Verizon’s INDYCAR Mobile app is available across all carriers. Exclusive features of the app for Verizon Wireless customers will stream live through the app and include enhanced real-time leaderboard and car telemetry; live in-car camera video streaming for select drivers during Verizon IndyCar Series races; live driver and pit crew radio transmissions during races and live Advance Auto Parts INDYCAR Radio Network audio streaming during all track activities.
At-track schedule (all times local):
Friday, April 7
10-10:45 a.m. – Verizon IndyCar Series practice #1, streaming on RaceControl.IndyCar.com (Live)
2-2:45 p.m. – Verizon IndyCar Series practice #2, NBCSN (Live)
Saturday, April 8
10:45-11:30 a.m. – Verizon IndyCar Series practice #3, streaming on RaceControl.IndyCar.com (live)
3:30 p.m. – Qualifying for the Verizon P1 Award (three rounds of Verizon IndyCar Series qualifications); NBCSN (live)
Sunday, April 9
9-9:30 a.m. – Verizon IndyCar Series warm-up, streaming on RaceControl.IndyCar.com (Live)
1 p.m. – NBCSN on air
1:23 p.m. – “Drivers, start your engines” command
1:30 p.m. – Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach (85 laps/167.28 miles), streaming on RaceControl.IndyCar.com (live); NBCSN (Taped at 4:30 p.m.)
• Sebastien Bourdais and Dale Coyne Racing came from last to first to claim the 2017 Verizon IndyCar Series opener at the Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg on March 12. Bourdais, a three-time winner at Long Beach, aims for back-to-back wins in pursuit of a fifth Indy car title.
• This weekend’s Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach will mark the 34th Indy car event on the historic street circuit. Mario Andretti won the first Indy car race there in 1984. Simon Pagenaud was the 2016 race winner, claiming his first win as a member of Team Penske. Bourdais (2005-2007) was the last repeat winner at Long Beach.
• Al Unser Jr. has won the most times at Long Beach (six), while Bourdais and Will Power are the only entered drivers with multiple wins. Bourdais won three straight races from 2005-2007. Power won in 2008 and 2012. Other former race winners scheduled to compete are: Helio Castroneves (2001), Ryan Hunter-Reay (2010), Takuma Sato (2013), Scott Dixon (2015) and Pagenaud (2016).
• Team Penske drivers have won six of the last eight poles at Long Beach: Castroneves, who set the lap record in 2015, is a three-time pole winner (2001, 2015 and 2016), Power won three straight from 2009-2011 and Ryan Briscoe won in 2012. In addition to Castroneves and Power, other past pole winners entered in this year’s race are: Tony Kanaan (1999), Bourdais (2006-2007) and Hunter-Reay (2014).
• Four drivers have won the race from the pole – Andretti (1984, 1985 and 1987), Unser Jr. (1989-90), Castroneves (2001) and Bourdais (2006-07).
• Nineteen of the 21 drivers entered in the event have competed in Indy car races at Long Beach. Eleven of those drivers have led laps: Castroneves 179, Bourdais 169, Power 162, Hunter-Reay 122, Dixon 71, Sato 66, Marco Andretti 64, Pagenaud 54, Kanaan 51, Charlie Kimball 3 and Josef Newgarden 1.
• Kanaan seeks to start his 267th consecutive race this weekend, which would extend his Indy car record streak that began in June 2001 at Portland. Teammate Dixon has made 208 consecutive starts heading into the weekend, which is the third-longest streak in Indy car racing.
• Dixon, the longest-tenured driver for Chip Ganassi Racing, is fourth on the all-time Indy car victory list with 40 wins. Bourdais is sixth on the all-time list with 36 wins.
• Castroneves will attempt to make his 329th career Indy car start, which ranks fourth on the all-time list. Kanaan will attempt to make his 328th Indy car start, which is fifth all-time. Both are competing in their 20th season of Indy car racing in 2017.
• 2016 Indy Lights presented by Cooper Tires champion Ed Jones in the only rookie driver slated to compete at Long Beach. Jones, one of six Indy Lights champions entered, won at Long Beach in 2015 as an Indy Lights rookie.
• Since 2012, the Verizon IndyCar Series has averaged 8.75 different race winners per season, including a record-tying 11 winners in 2014. There were eight different winners in the 16 races of 2016 with an equally tight competition projected for the 2017 season.
• Drivers may engage their “push-to-pass” for a total of 200 seconds during the race, with a maximum duration of 20 seconds for any one activation. The push-to-pass is not available on the initial race start or any restart unless it occurs in the final two laps or three minutes of a timed race. The feature increases the power of the engine by approximately 60 horsepower for 2017.
• The No. 9 GE LED Lighting Honda crew of Scott Dixon won the Firestone Pit Stop Performance Award during the Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg. The No. 9 Chip Ganassi Racing crew will receive its $10,000 award during pre-race festivities at the Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach.
TOYOTA GRAND PRIX OF LONG BEACH PRE-EVENT QUOTES:
SIMON PAGENAUD (No. 1 Menards Team Penske Chevrolet, 2016 Verizon IndyCar Series champion and Long Beach race winner): “Long Beach is a special event for me. I really like the whole California vibe. There’s just a different feeling in the air there. The St. Pete race allowed us to make a lot of points right away in our championship quest and it is what the Menards Chevrolet team does so well. We’ve done some testing during the break which has gone well. The whole team is very hungry. Long Beach has been kind to me and especially last year when we got my first Team Penske win. We’re ready for the street fight.”
JOSEF NEWGARDEN (No. 2 Verizon Team Penske Chevrolet): “Long Beach is a really exciting track for me to head to now being part of Team Penske. It’s an event that everyone wants to win. The Indy 500 is the crown jewel of the schedule, but Long Beach is right up there, too. I love the crowd at Long Beach because it’s always exciting and a fun atmosphere. I know I speak for the whole team when I say I can’t wait to get the hum by Verizon Chevy on track at Long Beach. I feel the team is really coming together and we’re looking to build on the momentum we built at St. Pete.”
HELIO CASTRONEVES (No. 3 Auto Club of Southern California Chevrolet): “Long Beach is one of the most exciting tracks on the circuit to me. It’s a fun environment and we’ve done well there. We really battled in St. Petersburg and wound up with a sixth-place finish, which was great, but I’m ready to perform better than ever at Long Beach. We were fast there last year, but we need to close the deal this time. I know the Auto Club of Southern California Chevrolet team will give me a great car and we’ll be ready to go.”
CONOR DALY (No. 4 ABC Supply AJ Foyt Racing Chevrolet): “I always look forward to traveling west for the Long Beach Grand Prix. There is such a great atmosphere all weekend and the track is fantastic. It was the site of my first Indy car street-course event and my first Indy Lights win so it’s always meant a lot to me.”
JAMES HINCHCLIFFE (No. 5 Arrow Schmidt Peterson Motorsports Honda): “Everybody looks forward to going to Long Beach every year. Obviously, the setting – along the water in California – is nice to look at, but at the same time, it’s probably, after the (Indy) 500, the most historic venue that we go to. It’s been running 43 years now for a reason; F1 and, of course, Indy car have been running there a long time. The greatest of the greats have raced there and won there, and I think that’s why it makes it such an appealing place for us to go to, and one that everyone wants to win. It’s a great track for me. I got my first Indy Lights win there, my first Indy car top five (and) my first Indy car podium, so hopefully we can add to that list and try and get a victory there this weekend.”
MIKHAIL ALESHIN (No. 7 SMP Racing Schmidt Peterson Motorsports Honda): “It feels great to be going back to the streets of Long Beach for the legendary Grand Prix of Long Beach. I think that the Schmidt Peterson Motorsports cars are pretty good on the street courses, so we are, of course, going to aim for the top result. The team is in great shape and I’m happy to get back to this great place.”
MAX CHILTON (No. 8 Gallagher Honda): “I think we should be optimistic for Long Beach this weekend with the Gallagher team. I raced (there) in Indy Lights before and got my first taste of it in the Indy car last year, so I’m building on my experience level. We have one street race under our belts in St. Petersburg this year so there were a lot of lessons learned that can be applied here.”
SCOTT DIXON (No. 9 NTT Data Honda): “Long Beach has such an amazing history. It’s a truly iconic American event that started gaining a lot of popularity with Formula 1 back in the day. With the layout of the track, it’s truly one of the best street circuits anywhere around, and more importantly, you actually get to race there. It took me forever to get to victory lane there but we managed to accomplish that a few years ago, and I hope we can return to that form again this year.”
TONY KANAAN (No. 10 NTT Data Honda): “It feels good to be back in the car and on the streets of Long Beach. It was a tease to start the season then get a few weekends off, but we spent a lot of time testing and working in the simulator the past few weeks and we’re feeling good heading into this weekend. We had a rough race in St. Pete dealing with some things we couldn’t control, so we’ve made sure to regroup since then and we’re all ready to get out there in Long Beach. I love the Long Beach circuit – the track and the atmosphere are just amazing.”
WILL POWER (No. 12 Verizon Team Penske Chevrolet): “I really enjoy racing at Long Beach. It’s a great crowd and we have performed really well there in the past. It’s been a bit since we’ve won there, but I feel good about our chances. We didn’t get the result we wanted at St. Pete, but the Verizon Chevy was strong. We just want to put together a complete weekend to make up some of the ground we lost. Qualifying will be important as it always is. The competition in the (Verizon IndyCar Series) is very, very close which makes it difficult. As I said, the Long Beach event always has a great crowd and that definitely raises everyone’s game. It should be a great event.”
CARLOS MUNOZ (No. 14 ABC Supply AJ Foyt Racing Chevrolet): “Long Beach is one of my favorite tracks, and everyone’s favorite tracks, I think. The city is really nice. I always enjoy going there. I’ve had really good results in Long Beach. I’m looking forward to being there with the new ABC Supply Chevy team, the new (Chevy) aero kit. AJ Foyt Racing has been really successful there, so hopefully we start and show what we proved in St. Pete from Practice 1 to the end. The goal is to be competitive and to do one’s best, and together, we can achieve a good result.”
GRAHAM RAHAL (No. 15 PennGrade Motor Oil Honda): “Long Beach is such an iconic, historic race. It’s been going on for more than 40 years – forever. There is a lot of great history there and I have fond memories of finishing second there a few years ago (2013). It’s like my second hometown race now, so there is a lot of support from friends and family that come out. It’s a special event for us, and I hope we can get a win in the PennGrade Honda. A Rahal has never won at Long Beach but we have finished second five times combined. It’s a tough track, a track that I feel I have raced at so many times but every time I go there I feel like I am learning something completely new. I’m excited to get there just to get over what happened at St. Pete really.” (About the race being five laps longer in 2017 than 2016): “I think that is going to make it a lot better for the fans. You are going to see guys pushing a lot harder because if it’s green like last year, there is no way anybody will make it on fuel (on two stops). You might see some different strategies because it’s probably going to be firmly a three-stopper, so you will stick to that and have pretty big (pit) windows and see drivers try to pit at different times. It should make it a lot more exciting for everyone.”
SEBASTIEN BOURDAIS (No. 18 Dale Coyne Racing Honda): “I’ve mostly always done well at Long Beach, although looking at my results there the last few years, they were not necessarily what they could have been for different reasons. It’s a circuit that I very much enjoy driving on, like any street circuit, to be honest. I think it suits my driving style quite well. If we find the right balance on the car, I think things can go well for us this weekend. We’re always aiming to be in the top five because from there anything can happen. I know people will ask if we can win again this weekend at Long Beach. Well, we didn’t expect to win in St. Petersburg. That said, for us it’s more a question of proving our potential versus getting that ultimate result. Yes, winning was a great bonus for everyone on the team, but we also want to validate everything we’re doing. At St. Petersburg, we didn’t have the fastest car but we had potential and that’s what I take away from that race and it’s what motivates me as we move forward with this program.”
ED JONES (No. 19 Boy Scouts of America Honda): “I’m really looking forward to the second round of the season. St. Pete was such a good experience for me. I think I was more comfortable in the end than I thought I was going to be. It was a great result as well. We built even more on that at the Barber Test, so all in all, I think we made a lot of steps forward. I know a lot more what to expect when I get to a race weekend after what I learned at St. Pete and I can’t wait to bring that experience to Long Beach, work on that and improve from there. I’ve been to Long Beach once before, in 2015, and I won there in Indy Lights. It was too bad that Indy Lights didn’t race there last year. Long Beach is in my top two favorite events that I’ve done, so I really can’t wait to get back there. It’s always a great atmosphere, a great circuit and racing in California is always nice.”
SPENCER PIGOT (No. 20 Fuzzy’s Vodka Chevrolet): “I haven’t raced at Long Beach since Indy Lights in 2015, so I am very excited to be driving there again. It’s one of my favorite street courses and the grand prix has so much history, it’s always been a race I wanted to drive in. We had a lot of positives to take away from the first race in St. Petersburg and I’m confident we can continue that form. The Fuzzy’s Vodka crew has been working hard to be as prepared as possible and I’m looking forward to a good weekend.”
JR HILDEBRAND (No. 21 Preferred Freezer Service Chevrolet): “I’ve always enjoyed the Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach. It is an awesome event we always have a good time going to. It’s kind of like Indianapolis in some ways, you can feel the vibe of everyone being excited about (the race) there. It is a cool place. It’s a challenging racetrack, but it’s also a lot of fun. I’ve had some good success there, I won the Indy Lights race there in 2009 as well as a couple of top-five finishes in the Indy car. I’m looking forward to making more progress. We have had a couple of tests since St. Pete and are ready to put in some more work and move our way up the grid.”
TAKUMA SATO (No. 26 Andretti Autosport Honda): “Long Beach is a special place. Not just because of the history the track has, but I simply love the venue with incredible memories. I enjoy so much driving the streets of Long Beach and the team has good records there, too. Fans are always great and there are several large Japanese communities around LA, so many Japanese fans turn up and some are actually flying directly from Japan, too! The track is generally low grip, but characteristics are not far different from St. Petersburg, and we had a productive test at Sebring recently, so I expect we will be as competitive as we were in the opening round. Hopefully we have another strong race and we can enjoy one of the most special weekends on the calendar.”
MARCO ANDRETTI (No. 27 United Fiber & Data Honda): “The season had a decent start for us in St. Pete; as a team, we seem to be more competitive this year and we are hoping to back that up in Long Beach. Next to the Indy 500, the Long Beach race is my second favorite event. It has a ton of history, is a fun track and the fans are supportive. It’s a close second on my desired win list, with Indy being first, of course.”
RYAN HUNTER-REAY (No. 28 DHL Honda): “The Long Beach Grand Prix is certainly one of the cornerstone events of the Verizon IndyCar Series. This race has so much history. It really is the Indy 500 of street courses. This event has also had a huge impact on my life, both personally and professionally over the years. We’ll be looking for Long Beach win No. 2 for the DHL team this weekend.”
CHARLIE KIMBALL (No. 83 Tresiba Honda): “I love coming home to the Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach. The whole Novo Nordisk Chip Ganassi Racing team is ready for redemption. We were so good all weekend in St. Pete. I have a lot of confidence we’ll carry that form all year long and the next chance to prove that is Long Beach. We’ll be in Honda’s backyard this weekend, so we’ll be working hard to get a good result for them. And of course, it’s always nice to have the support of my friends and family here.”
ALEXANDER ROSSI (No. 98 NAPA Auto Parts/Curb Honda): “I am so excited to be getting back to Long Beach with my NAPA Racing team. Not only is it one of my favorite races of the year, but we’ve also had quite a long break since St. Pete and we are ready to get some redemption. The progress from this winter has continued this past month and I look forward to translating that into some results at the first of my two ‘home tracks’ for the year.”
RACE PREVIEW WRITTEN BY & COURTESY OF INDYCAR COMMUNICATIONS