2009 Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach – ALMS, Speed GT & IndyCar Races

35th Annual Long Beach Grand Prix

The 35th annual Long Beach Grand Prix took place during a hot and sunny weekend with record crowds. All told, six racing series held competitions during April 18th and 19th on the 1.97 mile course that looped through the streets of Long Beach. These included the Toyota Pro/Celebrity Race (click here for full coverage), Tequila Patron American Le Mans series, Team Drifting, Firestone Indy Lights and SPEED World Challenge GT. Tecate, one of the premier sponsors, even held concerts on Friday and Saturday night. In addition, a massive Lifestyle Expo was held showcasing tons of automotive related products and services. A continuing trend was the proliferation of green and eco-friendly motoring with Toyota leading the charge as they showcased their “Green-Power Prix-View” with alternative energy cars. Below is a brief recap of the three major races of the weekend – ALMS, Speed GT and Indy Car.

2009 Long Beach Grand Prix - ALMS

Tequila Patron American Le Mans Series at Long Beach Race

This race was held on Saturday, April 18, 2009 and featured 4 classes of race car simultaneously on the same track. Purpose-built race cars competed in the Prototype class (known as P cars) designated as LMP1 and LMP2 while modified production cars competed in the Grand Touring classes of GT1 and GT2. Acura, Audi, Mazda (Lola chassis) and Peugeot were strong competitors in the LMP1 class (although Audi and Peugeot sat this one out) and Acura and Mazda (Lola chassis) were competitors in LMP2 class. Chevrolet owns the GT1 class with the Corvette and GT2 shaping up as the place to be with Porsche, Chevy, Dodge, Ferrari, Panoz, BMW and Aston Martin all competing.

The ALMS winners at Long Beach this year were:

LMP1: Gil de Ferran/Simon Pagenaud (Acura)
LMP2: Adrian Fernandez/Luis Diaz (Acura)
GT1: Olivie Beretta/Oliver Gavin (Corvette) * Final domestic GT1 race, as Corvette moving to GT2 after 24 Hours of Le Mans
GT2: Patrick Long/Jorg Bergmeister (Porsche 911 GT3 RSR)

2009 Long Beach Grand Prix - IndyCar

35th Annual Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach IndyCar Race

A little history first… This is the top level of open wheel racing in America. IndyCar got it roots in 1996 when Tony George, the founder of the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, created the league to compete against CART as a lower cost alternative. Last year, IndyCar and Champ Car merged to unify open wheel racing with the new series sanctioned by the Indy Racing League. The Chassis are all currently built by Dallara while those from Panoz, Riley & Scott and Falcon Cars have been phased out. As Honda is the sole engine manufacturer through 2010, IndyCars all use the same 3.5-liter naturally aspirated V8 capable of producing 650 hp (rev-limited to 10,300) rpms. Curb weight is around 1,525 pounds on oval tracks and 1,600 pounds on road courses. The transmission is a 6 speed gearbox with paddle shifters. Steering is handled by operating a manual, rack and pinion based system. Top speed is around 240 mph. This race was held on April 19th, 2009

2009 Long Beach Grand Prix IndyCar Top 10 Finishers:

Dario Franchitti
Will Power
Tony Kanaan
Danica Patrick
Dan Wheldon
Marco Andretti
Helio Castroneves
Raphael Matos
Robert Doornbos
Alex Tagliani

2009 Long Beach Grand Prix - SPEED GT

Applied Computer Solutions SCCA SPEED World Challenge GT at Long Beach

This was the final race of the 2009 Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach on April 19th, 2009 and was just as exciting as all the others. The SPEED World Challenge GT racing series is sanctioned by the Sports Car Club of America (SCCA) and usually involves both touring and grand touring vehicles. Grand Touring cars can be sedans, coupes or convertibles, either rear-wheel or all-wheel drive with between 350 and 550 bhp (forced induction allowed). Touring cars have to be four-seaters that are either front, rear or all-wheel drive with a horsepower range between 240 and 290 bhp from natural aspirated engines up to 2.8 liters (forced induction allowed only if factory installed). Grand Touring cars include the Aston Martin DB9, Audi RS6, BMW M3, Ferrari F430, Lamborghini Gallardo, Mitsubishi Evo, Pontiac GTO, Volvo S60, Porsche GT3, etc. Touring cars include the Acura Integra, Audi A4, Lexus IS300, Mazda6, Scion tC, etc. That said, because of the tight schedule, only the Grand Touring cars were able to run. Each race lasts 50 minutes:

Here are the 2009 Long Beach Speed GT race results:

1) Brandon Davis
2) Randy Pobst
3) Andy Pilgrim
4) Michael Galati
5) James Sofranas

2009 Long Beach Grand Prix - Team DRIFT

Source: Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach