Back in the 1970s, when racing first came to the streets of Long Beach, California, the event's organizers envisioned an American version of the Monaco Grand Prix. At the time, though, Long Beach remained a rough harbor outpost the South Bay periphery of Los Angeles. Drivers, the story goes, quickly learned to brake for a turn when they saw a certain brothel, to nail the accelerator once they had passed the last longshoreman's bar.
Those days are long since past. After racing the previous month at Sebring – in the humid backwoods of Central Florida, hours from anything – drivers descend on a Long Beach now surrounded by yachts, clubs, and penthouse apartments that look down on the prototypes, GTLM, and GTD cars screaming down Shoreline Drive below as ocean breezes sway the palm trees.
This race has become what the organizers of the Long Beach Grand Prix once envisioned.