Long Beach Grand Prix 2023 returns

For nearly half a century, the Acura Grand Prix of Long Beach has been an event as colorful as its surroundings. When the cars of the NNT INDYCAR SERIES and other racing organizations take to the famous city-streets-turned-race-track the weekend of April 14-16, they will be taking part in the 48th running of what has become known as “the Monaco Grand Prix of the United States.”

And grand it has been, from Mario Andretti winning in 1977 – an event that well may have saved the race as it was in a critical financial crush those early years – when it was an F1 race, to his son Michael winning in 1986, to Michael colliding with Emerson Fittipaldi in a spectacular pit lane incident in 1992, to Al’ Unser, Jr.’s record six wins, to today.

Defending champion Josef Newgarden, for instance, had to fight off a furious charge by Romain Grosjean last year on a restart five laps from the checkered flag to earn the coveted title of Long Beach champion.

“It wasn’t easy,” Newgarden said. “I had to hold people off, I had to try and battle for the lead, but I love that it did not come easy.”

In addition to the IndyCars, the 2023 event also features the debut of the IMSA GTP series, which are some of the most high-tech cars in all of motorsports, on a street course as part of the IMSA Weathertech Sportscar Championship; the Super Drift Challenge in which cars slide through tight corners to earn style points from a panel of judges; the wild SPEED/UTV Stadium SUPER Trucks in which trucks fly off ramps and bash each other around turns; the Porsche Carrera Cup North America; and the Historic F1 Challenge with vintage Formula One cars from the 1970s and 1980s, several of which raced at Long Beach in its F1 days.

There is even more to Acura Grand Prix of Long Beach, too, which makes it such as “must do” and “let’s go again” event in Southern California. There’s a lifestyle expo, food, beer and cocktails, included-with-your-ticket concerts on Friday and Saturday – King Of Chaos, whose band members include Matt Sorum and Gilby Clarke of Guns & Roses plays on Saturday – and an overall atmosphere that is, well, the Long Beach Grand Prix.

The setting is as spectacular as any in motorsports, including Monaco. Palm tree-lined Shoreline drive is the main straight with the Long Beach harbor and Queen Mary in the background, it then goes around the fountain of the Aquarium of Long Beach and past fans who are enjoying the scenery as much as the speed. As well as the Southern California sunshine.

General Admission tickets are $38 for Friday, $77 Saturday, $82 on Sunday and $112 for all three days. Reserved grandstand seats are open Fridays, cost $84 on Saturday and $92 and $107 on Sunday with all three days selling for $124 and $175. Those who are truly into it can buy special tickets to the Bubba Gump Shrimp Co. Turn One Club ($260), the C300 Club ($390 for three days) or various hospitality clubs that include food and drinks ($760-$1,125 for three days). 

To this, fans can add a paddock pass ($30 per day or $70 for three days) and even a Super Photo ticket with access to exclusive photo areas ($340).

Race information, along with on-and-off track activities and ticket purchases, can be found at Acura Grand Prix of Long Beach (gplb.com).

Kevin Wilkerson has been involved in the Long Beach Grand Prix for nearly 20 years in several capacities. He publishes the lifestyle website PubClub.com.