LONG BEACH (CBSLA.com) — Start your engines – the 43rd annual Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach begins Friday.
The annual event, which is expected to draw more than 200,000 people over three days, takes over downtown Long Beach with races, a drifting competition, live music, autograph sessions and family-friendly events.
Fan favorites like Scott Pruett will be part of Friday’s practice sessions for Sunday’s featured IndyCar Race. A free autograph session with IndyCar drivers will be from 4 to 5 p.m. in the paddock area.
“I love coming here to Long Beach, always a great time, always enjoy it, and can’t wait to get on the track,” Pruett said. “People have been coming here for 40 years, and seeing all the excitement, it becomes more than an event, it’s a happening.”
Qualifying for Saturday’s Can-Am Challenge race will be held from 3-3:20 p.m. Can-Am, shorthand for the Canadian-American Challenge Cup, was a racing series that ran at tracks in Canada and the U.S. from 1966-74 and 1977-87.
The race on the 1.97-mile, 11-turn street circuit surrounding the Long Beach Convention Center will feature the 1,000-plus horsepower cars from the 1966-74 era.
Saturday’s schedule features qualifying for the IndyCar race and a concert by the all-star band Kings of Chaos, starring Billy Idol, Billy Gibbons of ZZ Top and Chester Bennington of Linkin Park.
The Toyota Pro/Celebrity Race has been dropped from the Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach. Grand Prix officials announced in March 2016 they discontinued the event with last year’s race. Toyota officials said they could no longer provide the support needed for the race because of the company’s moving of its North American headquarters from Torrance to Plano, Texas. Toyota is continuing as the event’s title sponsor.
(© Copyright 2017 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. City News Service contributed to this report.)