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Toyota Grand Prix Of Long Beach April 11-13
INSIDE • Schedule Of Events/Circuit Map • 40 Years Of ‘The Most Successful Street Race In America’ • Jim Gray And Jim Willingham Share Memories Of Event That Changed Long Beach • Foundation Gives Back To Local Charities • Dwight Tanaka Builds ‘The Best’ Temporary Street Racing Course • Race Management: Keeping The Grand Prix Safe And Secure Since 1975 • Formula Drift: Bring On The Noise, Bring On The Smoke! • The Committee Of 300 ‘Redcoats’ • The Pro/Celebrity Race Cover Photograph by the Business Journal’s Thomas McConville
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Starts at the Stop.
This Grand Prix weekend, avoid jockeying for parking spots by riding Long Beach Transit. You could save money and time with our free Passport service downtown and fixed route service of only $1.25 throughout the city. We run as early as 5:30am* and as late as 12:30am*, so you won’t miss a minute of the action. Plan your trip online or give us a call and we’ll plan it for you. * Times vary depending on route and day.
LB Transit is going places. — Are you going with us? 562.591.2301 www.lbtransit.com m.lbtransit.com
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TOYOTA GRAND PRIX OF LONG BEACH April 1-14, 2014
Long Beach Business Journal 3-B
40th Toyota Grand Prix Of Long Beach Schedule Of Events (Tentative) FRIDAY, APRIL 11 7 a.m. Gates Open Tudor United SportsCar Championship Practice 7:40-9:40 a.m. 8 a.m. Lifestyle Expo Opens 10-10:45 a.m. Verizon IndyCar Series Practice 11:30 a.m.-Noon Pro/Celebrity Practice 12:15-1 p.m. Indy Lights Presented by Cooper Tires Practice 2-2:45 p.m. IndyCar Practice 3-3:30 p.m. Pro/Celebrity Qualifying 4-5 p.m. IndyCar Driver Autograph Session – IndyCar Paddock 4-4:45 p.m. Pirelli World Challenge Practice 5-6:30 p.m. Tudor Championship Qualifying Lifestyle Expo Closes 6 p.m. 6:45-8 p.m. Tecate Light Fiesta Friday Concert featuring “Kinky” 7 p.m. Grand Prix Foundation Charity Gala at Westin Long Beach 7-7:45 p.m. Motegi Racing Super Drift Challenge Practice 7:45-9 p.m. Motegi Racing Super Drift Challenge Qualifying SATURDAY, APRIL 11 Gates Open 7 a.m. 7:45-8:15 a.m. Indy Lights Practice 8 a.m. Lifestyle Expo Opens 10-10:45 a.m. IndyCar Practice 11-11:40 a.m. Indy Lights Qualifying Noon-1 p.m. PRO/CELEBRITY RACE 1:15-2:25 p.m. IndyCar Qualifying & Firestone Fast 6 2:40-3:00 p.m. Tudor United SportsCar Championship Pre-Race 3:05-4:45 p.m. Tequila Patrón Sports Car Showcase (Race #3 of the Tudor Championship-100 minutes)
5:15-5:45 p.m. 6 p.m. 6:45-7:45 p.m. 7-9 p.m. SUNDAY, APRIL 13 7 a.m. 7:20-7:40 a.m. Truck Series 8 a.m. 8-8:15 a.m. 9-9:30 a.m. 9:45 a.m. 10:15-11:15 a.m. 11:30-11:38 a.m. Noon-12:20 p.m. 12:30 p.m. 1:50-3:30 p.m. 3:55-4:05 p.m. 4:30-5:30 p.m. 5:30 p.m.
Pirelli World Challenge Qualifying Lifestyle Expo Closes Rock-N-Roar Concert - Paul Rodgers of Bad Company Motegi Racing Super Drift Challenge Competition Gates Open Speed Energy Formula Off-Road Practice/Qualifying Lifestyle Expo Opens World Challenge Warm Up IndyCar Warm Up Indy Lights Pre-Race INDY Lights Presented By Cooper Tires Race Mothers Exotic Car Parade Speed Energy Forumula Off-Road Truck Series Race IndyCar Pre-Race Ceremonies Start of TOYOTA GRAND PRIX OF LONG BEACH (Race #2 of the 2014 Verizon IndyCar Series – 80 laps) Drifting Demonstration Pirelli World Challenge Race Lifestyle Expo Closes
2014 Toyota Grand Prix Of Long Beach Race Circuit
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TOYOTA GRAND PRIX OF LONG BEACH 4-B Long Beach Business Journal
April 1-14, 2014
40 Years Of ‘The Most Successful Street Race In America’ ■ By TIFFANY L. RIDER Editor It’s a big year for the Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach (TGPLB), which is celebrating a 40th anniversary and new sponsorships that have the potential to propel the race event into the future. “Thousands have contributed to the most successful street race in America,” Jim Michaelian, president and CEO of the Grand Prix Association of Long Beach, said of the TGPLB. In celebration of this 40th anniversary, the Grand Prix Association is creating a huge retrospective display inside the Long Beach Convention & Entertainment Center during race weekend, April 11-13. Called “Four Decades of Racing in the Streets,” the display lining the convention center’s promenade atrium includes a timeline with photos from each of the past 39 races. On each side of this walk down memory lane are eight different cars that have raced in the TGPLB as well as eight Toyota pace cars. “Toyota has entitled the event since 1980,” Michaelian said. “I believe it’s the longest running entitled sponsorship.” The biggest change in the TGPLB this year is the new title sponsor for the
Jim Michaelian has been with the Grand Prix Association of Long Beach since the beginning – a Formula 5000 test race in the fall of 1975 to determine if Long Beach was capable of staging an annual race through its downtown streets. He originally served as controller and later chief operating officer prior to becoming president and CEO in 2001. A racer himself, Michaelian has participated in the 24 Hours of Daytona and the 12 Hours of Sebring. He holds a bachelor’s degree in physics and a master’s in business administration, both earned at UCLA. (Photograph by the Business Journal’s Thomas McConville)
IndyCar Series – Verizon. The communications technology company has been a sponsor of IndyCar for years, but only recently signed a multi-year contract to replace IZOD as the major brand of the series. According to Michaelian, the enhanced partnership with Verizon allows the race to
develop additional experiences for race fans to interact with the events. Though these developments won’t happen in the first year, Michaelian said the Grand Prix Association is looking forward to creating more participatory experiences for race attendees. “Verizon has a huge promotional base,”
The Grand Prix Association of Long Beach staff include, clockwise from left: Jim Michaelian, Allison Wilson, Eric Yee, Gemma Bannon, Janet Pascua, Tammy Johnson, Francia Vidauri, Ryan Peterson, Michael Holmquist, Eric Soto, Martin Bannon, Cindy Forster, Cecelia Ruebel, Mike Clark, Sandy Hendrix, Mike McElroy, Kasey Cook, Aileen McBride and Chris Esslinger. Not pictured: Chris Allen, Sergio Brito, David Carillo, Crandal Dickinson, Pablo Martin, Emily Sharp and Dwight Tanaka. (Photograph by the Business Journal’s Thomas McConville)
he said. “Their technology appeals to all ages and offers a tremendous opportunity.” In addition to the title sponsorship, Verizon is continuing the Verizon P1 Award, which is presented to the Verizon IndyCar Series pole winner of each race. “Verizon is delighted to become the title sponsor of the IndyCar series and to bring even more of our innovative technology to the fans, to the teams and to the entire motorsports community,” Dan Mead, president and CEO of Verizon Wireless, said in a statement. “The intersection of racing and technology has never been more relevant, and our expanded partnership with IndyCar provides a unique opportunity to demonstrate that synergy.” The racing events of this year’s TGPLB include: the third race of the Verizon IndyCar Series, the Tequila Patrón Sports Car Showcase featuring the TUDOR United SportsCar Championship, the Pro/Celebrity Race, the Motegi Racing Super Drift Challenge, Pirelli World Challenge, Indy Lights Presented By Cooper Tires and the SPEED Energy Stadium SUPER Trucks race. One of the most recognized names in motorsports, Mario Andretti, is the grand marshal for the TGPLB. Dario Franchitti, four-time IndyCar Series Champion who retired after a wreck last year, is being inducted into the Long Beach Motorsports Walk of Fame. Also being inducted are two team owners, Gerald Forsythe and Kevin Kalkhoven. As one of the top three events held in Long Beach next to the International City Bank Marathon and the Lesbian & Gay Pride Parade, the TGPLB serves as a destination marketing opportunity and showcases the city’s ability to host large events. “It’s the number-one event that comes into the downtown,” according to Kraig Kojian, president and CEO of the Downtown Long Beach Associates (DLBA). The DLBA uses the event to showcase the downtown area to potential investors by hosting a rooftop reception at the Hyatt Regency Long Beach on the Saturday of race weekend. The nonprofit business association also invites potential investors to smaller events throughout the year to see how the DLBA uses what Kojian called “the urban grid.” To offer an opportunity for race fans to extend their stay, the DLBA hosts Tecate Light Thunder Thursday as a kickoff event for the TGPLB. “We want people to come down and see our downtown to get a feel for what is here 365 days a year,” Kojian said. The free event at Pine Avenue and Broadway features motocross stunts, racecar displays, the Cadillac Kings Car Show, a beer garden and a concert featuring local band Paperplanes. “Our event offers a chance to see the restaurants, streets and development that has occurred, whether or not they come back during the race,” he said. “You get to see what we can do.” Iris Himert, senior vice president of sales for the Long Beach Convention & Visitors Bureau (CVB), said the CVB also uses the event as a way to book future convention, meeting and event business for the city. “I’ve been here 28 years,” she said. “There hasn’t been a year that we have not booked (Please Continue To Next Page)
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TOYOTA GRAND PRIX OF LONG BEACH April 1-14, 2014
Long Beach Business Journal 5-B
Grand Prix Association President and CEO Jim Michaelian has worked with Gemma Bannon, left, and Allison Wilson since 1982 and 1991, respectively. Bannon is the manager of office and human resources and Wilson is the manager of advertising and promotions. Both also serve as executive assistants to Michaelian. (Photograph by the Business Journal’s Thomas McConville)
business when we brought people out for the Grand Prix. It’s a huge business opportunity event for us.” The CVB invites approximately 50 guests. Half are local and the other half fly in from various parts of the country, she said. The guest list is a mix of repeat customers and potential clients, Himert said. “Three or four people bring us business every year, so we bring them to show our appreciation,” she said. To prepare for these guests, the CVB provides the major hotels with the guests’ business profiles. Upon arrival, guests are taken to a couple of key sites on the Thursday before the event. After the brief tour, guests are brought to a hospitality recep-
tion followed by a private event aboard the Queen Mary. Friday is packed with hotel tours and city tours so that the CVB may further educate their guests on the city’s hospitality partners, and Saturday is spent at the races. Last year alone, according to Himert, the CVB was able to use the event to drum up the potential for 84,000 total room nights, which could result in an estimated $2 million in transient overnight tax and an estimated economic impact of $65 million. “Obviously we want to bring in as many people as we can who haven’t been to Long Beach and the types of business that would fit like a glove,” Himert said. “We want to have them wowed.” ■
St. Mary races with precision to ensure the most timely and efficient Emergency care.* am for the th
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TOYOTA GRAND PRIX OF LONG BEACH 6-B Long Beach Business Journal
April 1-14, 2014
REMEMBERING THE RACE
Jim Gray And Jim Willingham Share Memories Of The Racing Event That Changed Long Beach ■ By TIFFANY L. RIDER Editor
Two of the men who in 1975 were instrumental in convincing elected officials to move forward with a car race through city streets, got together recently to reminisce about the early days of the Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach. Jim Willingham, left, and Jim Gray were two of the key players Grand Prix Founder Chris Pook met with to help him get the green light for a test race, the Formula 5000, in September 1975, and to help form the volunteer group known as the Committee of 300. (Photograph by the Business Journal’s Thomas McConville)
Jim Gray and Jim Willingham recognize that the efforts they and others made to convince City of Long Beach officials to host a car race through the streets helped create what evolved into the most attended annual event in Long Beach. The two Jims carried the torch for Chris Pook, who formulated the idea to bring a Formula One race to the streets of Long Beach in the spirit of similar events around the world. As the story goes, Gray invited Willingham to have lunch with Pook one afternoon in 1973 to hear his spiel. Gray, who was president of the Long Beach Area Chamber of Commerce at the time, owned Harbor Bank. Before he entered the banking industry he owned an automotive dealership in Bixby Knolls, Jim Gray Volvo. “In the car business, you’re always looking
at advertising and how you’re going to get somebody’s attention,” Gray said. “I think everybody involved said that a Formula One race in Long Beach, California, had all the pizzazz you could possibly get in trying to take the city to the next step.” Willingham has a wealth of experience in selling cars, having owned the local Boulevard Buick/GMC car dealership since 1961 along with several other dealerships across the state. When Gray was president of the chamber, Willingham served as president of the Rotary Club of Long Beach. “So I met them for this lunch,” Willingham recalled. “They told me, ‘We need someone to head up a volunteer committee to serve the city and to help us get this Grand Prix on the road.’ . . . Anything to draw people to Long Beach I was for. And, particularly when it came to race cars, I was excited about that.” It wasn’t long before he was selected to (Please Continue To Next Page)
Grand Prix Foundation Of Long Beach Gives 90 Percent Back To Local Charities this year’s event are being announced closer to the tournament date. This year’s tournament is April 7 at the El Dorado Park Golf Club. Typically, attendance is between 120 and 130 people, with 144 being the maximum particNinety cents out of every dollar raised by the Grand ipants allowed, DuRee said. Entries are accepted up until Prix Foundation of Long Beach is donated to local charithe tournament if spots remain available. ties – that’s 90 percent of all funds raised since the founThe Grand Prix Foundation of Long Beach Charity dation was formed in 1991, Rick DuRee, foundation presGala is a black-tie optional dinner and dance party on ident, told the Business Journal. April 11, the Friday before race weekend, and includes Since local businessmen John Knauf and John Queen a silent and live auction, DuRee said. Attendees may and Long Beach Grand Prix founder Chris Pook founded mingle with city officials such as the mayor and memthe Grand Prix Foundation in 1991, it has raised more bers of city council or perhaps even celebrities from the than $3 million for local charities and organizations, Pro/Celebrity Race while they bid on race-themed aucDuRee said. DuRee, who has been involved with the tion items. This year, gala guests also have the chance organization from the start, has served as president of the to try out simulators used by racing professionals to Grand Prix Foundation since 2003. familiarize themselves with professional courses. “The The Grand Prix Foundation has four principle charities it simulator is all done with hydraulics and everything donates to every year, including Miller Children’s Hospital else. It is the wildest most realistic thing you’ve ever Long Beach, Children’s Hospital of Orange County, Long seen,” DuRee said. Beach Area Special Olympics The gala’s live auction, in and the Robert E. Leslie which participation in the Scholarship Program for local Pro/Celebrity Race is auchigh school seniors. Other Long tioned off to the highest bidBeach-based charities may der, is “the highlight of the apply to receive donations from entire evening,” DuRee the Grand Prix Foundation, noted. Depending on who is DuRee said. bidding, the selling price “One of the premises behind varies, he said, but last year the whole organization is that we the winning bid was are designed to benefit the City $105,000. He said that the of Long Beach,” he explained. foundation expects around The charitable organization is 300 people to turn out for able to give back the majority of the gala. The foundation has its donations to the community in excess of 200 volunteers because it has very low overhead working on both events in a costs, and what isn’t donated to variety of capacities, DuRee charities is used to fund the said. Tickets are available Toyota Grand Prix of Long until April 5. Beach (TGPLB) race events. For more information on the The foundation primarily Grand Prix Foundation, or to raises funds through two major participate in one of the orgaevents leading up to race nization’s fundraising events, weekend – the annual Grand visit http://gplb.com/grandPrix Charity Celebrity Golf Rick Duree has served as president of the Grand Prix Foundation of Long Beach since 2003. Since the group’s founding in 1991, activTournament and the Charity ities have raised more than $3 million for local charities and organizations. (Photograph by the Business Journal’s Thomas McConville) prix-foundation/. ■ ■ By SAMANTHA MEHLINGER Staff Writer
Gala. The intent behind the events is to give people something to do in the days leading up to race week, DuRee said. “At the same time it benefits a good cause because you’re going to support the local charities.” DuRee described the golf tournament as a “full day of fun,” starting with a continental breakfast and morning cocktails, followed by a putting contest and driving range practice. In the “scramble”-style golf tournament, every player takes a shot and takes their next swing from wherever the best shot lands. “It’s a fun format,” DuRee said. Raising the stakes is one big prize – a car – for whoever gets a hole in one. After the tournament, participants may take part in a hosted cocktail party, dinner and a live auction. Being able to play a casual game of golf alongside celebrities is another big draw. Prior celebrity participants include composer and actor Paul Williams, actor Robert Hayes, actor James Garner and Olympian turned reality star Bruce Jenner, among others. The celebrities attending
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TOYOTA GRAND PRIX OF LONG BEACH April 1-14, 2014 serve as the first president of that volunteer group, known as the Committee of 300. The nonprofit group, which continues to serve the race to this day, was instrumental in convincing the city to allow the street closures necessary for a Grand Prix through downtown and along Ocean Boulevard, and were integral in getting business owners and city officials to buy into the benefits of the race. “We had the committee telling business owners that they would suffer in their business for a short period, but the race would bring 90,000 people to Long Beach and exposure to their sign and their store,” Willingham said. Looking at the success of Formula One street races in Monaco, Rio de Janerio, Montreal and elsewhere, Willingham and Gray were both champions of the concept as a way to put Long Beach on the world stage. “For Long Beach, it was an opportunity for comparison to the exotic or big cities,” Gray said. “To bring a Formula One race here was a big deal. . . . Everyone who was involved with us had been involved in doing . . . whatever it took to make Long Beach a vibrant city. All of us that were in business, we knew that if the city bought into this and it became a deal where people from out of the city wanted to come, you’d become more of a destination rather than just a city.” Up until then, most people knew Long Beach as “Iowa by the Sea.” “We used to have the Iowa picnics and the Kansas and Missouri picnics,” Willingham said. “This was just so far removed from that older person idea.” After a test race in September 1975 with Formula 5000 vehicles, the Grand Prix of Long Beach hit the streets in March 1976. “It was just mind boggling when you think about what we did in that short period of time,” Willingham said. “By the time we had the Formula 5000, we had over 120 people in the Committee of 300.” That wasn’t close to enough volunteers to handle taking tickets, seating patrons, working with the media and filling all the necessary roles to make the race a success. Gray and Willingham continued to recruit volunteers, which became easier after the Formula 5000 race, but never reached 300. “It hit the high 200s,” Gray said. One memory that epitomizes things being done by the seat of their pants, Gray said, happened at the first Formula One race. Willingham recalled, “We recruited the Boy Scouts to help be ticket takers on the grandstands. We had these tickets all printed up. We sold 3,000 tickets for Grandstand 29. When the people arrived, the poor Boy Scouts and the Committee of 300 volunteers were looking for Grandstand 29 and it wasn’t there. It hadn’t been constructed.” “Talk about chaos,” he continued. “We had to go on the P.A. system and keep announcing that there had been a huge misprint on the tickets. That was discovered on Friday, thank goodness, at the qualifying before we had the huge crowd.” Though they were able to find new seats, Willingham said he thought the incident was more than just a hiccup. “Now I look back at it and laugh, but it was a deal breaker at the time,” he said. “I thought that we were going to have all of these people badmouthing us.” After the first three or four races, things began to run more smoothly. From there,
Long Beach Business Journal 7-B the collective efforts of those deciding the course of action as they went along began to pivot the city from being known as Little Iowa to the International City, attracting business and development that helped create the metropolitan downtown Long Beach has today. “Part of the volunteers’ role was how do we get decision makers to come into town to see if this is a place they want to have a satellite office or a headquarters or whatever it might be,” Gray said. “Like trying to gauge advertising, it’s impossible to totally quantify. I think that what the race did was it created an interest in people looking at Long Beach. They heard about us. They saw us. They read about us all over the country. The city got the kind of exposure that we need to have.” ■
Mario Andretti To Serve As Grand Marshall Mario Andretti, considered not only the most popular driver to race in the Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach but the greatest race driver in the history of the sport, is serving as Grand Marshall for the 40th annual running of the race. “I raced for four decades on just about every course imaginable,” Andretti said in a statement. “And I have been associated with the Grand Prix of Long Beach since its beginning in 1975. So I think I speak with authority when I say that it is by far the most successful street race ever staged in American motor racing history. Obviously, the fondest memories I have of the streets of Long Beach are my victories, but the entertainment and ambiance away from the track has also become classic. No one leaves Long Beach without vowing to come back. It is truly amongst the best I’ve ever seen and I’m proud to be serving as Grand Marshal this year.” Among Andretti’s 111 race victories are four wins in Long Beach. ■
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TOYOTA GRAND PRIX OF LONG BEACH 8-B Long Beach Business Journal
April 1-14, 2014
Takuma Sato Tokyo, Japan A.J. Foyt Enterprises
Takuma Sato and his team are aiming to repeat last year’s victory. The 2014 field includes three rookies (Mikhail Aleshin, Carlos Munoz and Jack Hawksworth). All cars use fourth-generation Verizon IndyCar Series chassis (IR12) and Firestone tires. Shown is each driver’s hometown and team name. Takuma Sato and his team, pictured above, won the 2013 Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach. (Business Journal photograph by Jeff Shyu)
Mikhial Aleshin Moscow, Russia Schmidt Peterson Motorsports
Marco Andretti Nazareth, Pennsylvania Andretti Autosport
Sebastien Bourdais Le Mans, France KVSH Racing
Ryan Briscoe Sydney, Australia NTT Data chip Ganassi Racing
Helio Castroneves Sao Paulo, Brazil Team Penske
Mike Conway Bromley, England Ed Carpenter Racing
Scott Dixon Auckland, New Zealand Target Chip Ganassi Racing
Jack Hawksworth Bradford, England Bryan Herta Autosport
James Hinchcliffe Toronto, Canada Andretti Autosport
Tony Kanaan Salvador, Brazil Target Chip Ganassi Racing
Charlie Kimball Camarillo, California Chip Ganassi Racing Teams
Juan Pablo Montoya Bogota, Colombia Penske Motorsports
Carlos Munoz Bogota, Colombia Andretti – HVM
Josef Newgarden Hendersonville, Texas Sarah Fisher Hartman Racing
Simon Pagenaud Montmorillon, France Schmidt Peterson Hamilton Motorsports
Will Power Toowoomba, Australia Team Penske
Graham Rahal New Albany, Ohio Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing
Ryan Hunter-Reay Fort Lauderdale, Florida Andretti Autosport
Sebastian Saavedra Bogota, Colombia KVAFS Racing
Oriol Serviá Catalonia, Spain Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing
Justin Wilson Sheffield, England Dale Coyne Racing
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TOYOTA GRAND PRIX OF LONG BEACH April 1-14, 2014
Long Beach Business Journal 9-B
IndyCar Steering Wheel 101 Steering wheels vary by team. This is but one example.
RPM Shift Lights – LED lights that go from green to red and indicate engine RPM. When the red lights are on the driver shifts gears.
OT – PUSH-TO-PASS: The push-to-pass, or overtake assist, button is an INDYCAR-regulated mechanism which provides a driver the ability to increase the car’s horsepower for a short period of time.
GEAR INDICATOR: Indicates in which gear the driver is in.
RS – RESET: Used during the race. During a pit stop the driver pushes this button to reset the fuel reading on the display.
R – PUSH-TO-TALK: Activates the microphone in the driver’s helmet so he can communicate over the radio.
T – WATER – Allows the driver to get a drink of water during the race. It activates a pump connected to a water bottle on the car which pumps water through a hose installed in the driver’s helmet. (button varies by team)
N – NEUTRAL: Used by drivers to set the car’s gearbox to a neutral state.
L – RPM – Used to adjust the engine rev limit. CIRCUIT – Map of the race course.
WJ – WEIGHT JACKER: Adjusts the cross weight on the car from left to right, or right to left, depending on which button is pushed. The weight jacker allows the driver to make finetuning adjustments as the car begins to handle differently during the race.
Photograph courtesy of the Indianapolis Motor Speedway
P – DASH: Displays warning lights and information the driver needs during the race. That information includes lap times, oil, water and gearbox temperatures and fuel mileage.
R – REVERSE: Allows MAP1 and MAP2 – FUEL MAP SWITCH: Allows the driver to adjust the fuel mapping of the engine to increase fuel mileage or to the driver to set the car's increase power. There are a number of settings available, including full rich – where the engine produces maximum power but uses gearbox in a reverse more fuel. There is also a lean setting which uses less fuel but produces less power. During caution periods the drivers will switch to position. the leanest mixture to increase fuel economy.
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TOYOTA GRAND PRIX OF LONG BEACH 10-B Long Beach Business Journal
April 1-14, 2014
(Photograph by the Business Journal’s Thomas McConville)
From Forest Ranger To Game Changer: Dwight Tanaka Builds ‘The Best’ Temporary Street Racing Course ■ By TIFFANY L. RIDER Editor Dwight Tanaka has the pleasure of building what he considers the best temporary street racing circuit in the world. Tanaka has been with the Grand Prix Association of Long Beach for 38 years spearheading construction of the racetrack for the annual Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach as the association’s vice president and director of operations. In college, Tanaka studied aeronautical engineering and worked in construction to pay for his education. “The aeronautical field, the industry itself, collapsed in the early 1970s,” he explained. The timing of his degree completion and the industry collapse led him down a different path. “I basically made the decision, with the help of the State of California, to become a state forest ranger,” he said. Because of the number of days forest rangers have off, Tanaka said he had the opportunity to start up a small trucking company in 1973. “Back then, the government had a bunch of projects in place that allowed minorities – which I was – to get involved in government contracts,” he said. “So basically most of the stuff I did in the trucking industry was hauling government loads.” A few years into the trucking venture, Tanaka had the opportunity to contract with the Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach to haul materials to build the 1976 street racecourse. The Grand Prix Association offered him a job the next year to become the construction superintendent, a position in charge of building the entire track. Though the course designs have changed over the years, the process of building the track has stayed the same. It starts out with hauling and placing the concrete blocks. Around the same time, they begin installing the grandstands. Once the concrete blocks are in place,
workers begin to install poles, run cable and wire and put up temporary pedestrian bridges. As vendors come in and set up, Tanaka said he is responsible for making sure fire lanes are not impacted. The design of the track had to adapt to the changing city skyline as new businesses and a financial district were established, Tanaka said, though impacts were
negligible. “The course used to be up on Ocean Boulevard, which, for us, was a real headache because besides tying up Shoreline Drive, we were tying up the second main artery through the city, which required a number of last-minute closures,” Tanaka said. “Now, with the new course design, we have reduced the number of last-minute closures that we have.”
Toyota Grand Prix Of Long Beach: Construction By The Numbers 3Miles Of Fencing 7Spectator Bridges, 40 to 120 Feet Long 7Giant Vision Boards 10Miles Of Fence Cabling 15Grandstands 20Miles Of Telephone Cable 25Miles Of Electrical Power Distributed Cable 70Corporate Hospitality Units Catering To Nearly 7,000 People 280Tire Crash Barriers With 64 Tires Per Pallet For A Total Of 17,920 Tires 1,733Concrete Blocks 29,000Working Hours 17,763,250Pounds Of Concrete Blocks, Each Of Them 12 Feet Long And Weighing 10,250 Pounds (Data courtesy of the Grand Prix Association of Long Beach)
When he first started with the race, Tanaka established a relationship with the Laborers’ International Union of North America Local 507 to hire the workers who build the track. The task of building the racetrack begins with a small crew of about 10 to 12 people. As it gets closer to the event, he brings in 100-plus people to work in crews dedicated to safety and infrastructure, hauling, installing temporary electrical, restrooms, telecommunication lines and more. “I’ve been very lucky in that over the years I’ve been able to meet with and put together a pretty good team,” Tanaka said. “I’ve got some individuals who have been working with me for a number of years. We meet and discuss the construction schedule itself, both installation and renewal. Areas of responsibility are divided up amongst those key people and they are assigned a workforce to accomplish the work that they do.” The city requires the set up to occur within 60 days of race weekend, and provides a 30-day window for cleanup and removal of the track. Workers begin building the track in February, he said, and make the extra effort to remove everything as soon as possible after race weekend. “Because we want to reduce the impact on the city as much as we can, the last two years we’ve [finished] in 15 working days,” Tanaka said. In a perfect world, Tanaka said he would like to add more variety in elevations to the racetrack itself. “[Considering] the cards that we’ve been dealt with what’s been available to us, I think that our racetrack itself is as good as it gets,” he said. “We like to tout ourselves as the best temporary street circuit not only in the United States but in the world. We have many promoters who are looking to promote similar events not only in the United States but in foreign countries and try to use our business model.” ■
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TOYOTA GRAND PRIX OF LONG BEACH April 1-14, 2014
Long Beach Business Journal 11-B
Race Management: Keeping The Grand Prix Safe And Secure Since 1975 ■ By SAMANTHA MEHLINGER Staff Writer Every year, about 400 volunteers, both local and from out of state, descend upon Long Beach to help the Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach (TGPLB) run as smoothly as possible. Under the seasoned watch of Bob Funk, who has been director of Race Management since the race was founded in 1975, the team’s duties range from escorting racecars to the track, checking the credentials of people entering the pit crew areas and preventing onlookers from climbing up trees for a better view. It all started in the early 1970s when Funk, a member of the Long Beach MG Club at the time, heard that Chris Pook was thinking about starting up a Formula One race in Long Beach. The MG Club, which Funk called the “oldest sports car club in America,” had years of experience doing timing, scoring and flagging for racing events in California – experience Funk leveraged to convince Pook to let them assist in the race. “I said, ‘Hey, we’ve got a group of people that are willing to help you,’” he said of chatting with Pook. “I wouldn’t give up . . . I kept after him and finally he gave in and said, ‘Okay, Bob.’” Funk recalled. Since then, the Race Management team has served as an arm of the Grand Prix Association of Long Beach. When the Race Management team first
Race Management’s duties is to escort racecars from a makeshift garage at the Long Beach Convention & Entertainment Center to help keep the crowd safe. Many of his team’s duties are crowd-control related, such as keeping people moving or preventing skateboarders from going through the crowds, which he called “a hazard waiting to happen.” Funk’s staff covers every area of the Bob Funk, director of Race Management, greets Takuma Sato, last event, “from fence line to year’s winner of the Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach. Funk and his fence line,” he said. “We group have assisted race organizers since the first event in 1975. protect the Grand Prix (Photograph by Jimmy Mahoney, Long Beach MG Club) property,” he added. Similar to the way police started out, Funk said he oversaw just a few people. Now, he and his wife, Barbara, who officers patrol designated beats, the is personnel director of Race Management, TGPLB is divided into seven areas with oversee about 400 volunteers, many of 17 subzones so that if assistance is whom come from out of state and as far as needed in a certain area, it is easier to the East Coast, Funk said. Those volunteers identify the location. “If there is a probare culled from a list of 2,000 people, he lem anywhere in the facility, like say added. “I have been doing this so long and somebody falls down or gets hurt, we’d I have such a good team. It’s really a pleas- say ‘man down’ and we’d know the locaure to work with them,” he reflected, tion immediately and respond,” he adding that working with volunteers and explained. Between 30 to 50 Race other race staff is his favorite part of being Management staffers work in each area. involved in the TGPLB. “They all have radio communication, so Race Management’s operations at the there is no lapse at what we’re looking at. TGPLB are primarily security and safety Everything is covered,” he said. related, Funk said. For example, one of During the event, the Race
Management team communicates with other security staff from the Federal Bureau of Investigations, the Long Beach Fire Department, Homeland Security, the Long Beach Police Department and private security. While Funk said most of the Race Management volunteers are experienced, newer volunteers are assigned to a veteran manager for training. “A lot of them are 30to 35-year veterans [of the race] . . . They know what to do,” Funk said. “They’re all dedicated volunteers and I love it.” Funk said he has seen TGPLB get “bigger and bigger” since it first began, to the point where he said the race’s only competition is the Monaco Grand Prix in France. “That’s our competition. In the U.S. we don’t have any because we’re No. 1.” ■
Rock Concerts Friday And Saturday Race Weekend Two rock concerts take place race weekend. On Friday, April 11, at approximately 6:45 p.m., the Tecate Light Fiesta Friday stage is featuring the Mexican band “Kinky.” The concert, on the Terrace Plaza at the Convention Center, is free to race ticket holders. On Saturday at 6:45 p.m., Paul Rodgers of Bad Company headlines the Rock-N-Roar concert at the same location. The concert is free to all Saturday race ticket holders.
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TOYOTA GRAND PRIX OF LONG BEACH 12-B Long Beach Business Journal
April 1-14, 2014
Formula Drift: Bring On The Noise, Bring On The Smoke! ■ By MICHAEL GOUGIS Contributing Writer Huge, crazy sideways slides, rear tires spinning so hard that the entire rear end of the car is enveloped in smoke, bellowing open exhausts – these are anathema to the modern race car engineer. Burning rubber and sliding sideways wastes energy that could be used to propel the car forward – and getting to the finish line first is the goal for most motorsports. But in drifting, it’s not the finish line that matters, but the journey – and the louder, smokier and more crazy out-of-control looking, the better. It’s a rebellion against the tyranny of the time clock, a celebration of driving in a manner that absolutely, positively would make your Drivers Ed instructor faint. Drifting is a spectacle, and its heartbeat is located in Downtown Long Beach, to which Formula DRIFT moved in 2006. The opening competition for the series’ seven-event annual calendar is held the weekend before the Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach on the race circuit, and a special one-off competition is scheduled for Friday and Saturday nights of the Grand Prix weekend. Long Beach is not just the literal home of Formula DRIFT. Southern California is the spiritual home to drift culture, the place where underground enthusiasts started emulating their Japanese automotive counterculture stars. Grand Prix organizers were open to tapping into this exploding market. “In 2006, we had held a drifting demonstration as part of the Grand Prix weekend, and so we were kind of immersed in dealing with the city and learning how to get approval on things, sitting in on operational meetings, all that good stuff, and so that kind of stimulated the search for office space here,” says Jim Liaw, Formula Drift president and co-founder. “And after that first demonstration, they were confident in their ability to work with us.” Since then, the event has become a fixture on the Formula DRIFT calendar, and one of the highlights of the Grand Prix weekend. It is so popular that fans fill the stands for both events. The stand-alone event the weekend before the Grand Prix not only sells out by
The Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach street race circuit Turns 9, 10 and 11 are being used for the drift racing event the weekend of April 5th. Formula DRIFT, a company based on Pine Avenue in Downtown Long Beach, owns and operates the annual event, which is the first in a seven-race season series it presents that includes races in Georgia, Florida, Texas New Jersey and Washington, plus a second race in California at Irwindale Speedway. Pictured are Formula DRIFT co-founders Ryan Sage, left, vice president, and Jim Liaw, president. (Photograph by the Business Journal’s Thomas McConville)
attracting more than 20,000 spectators, but the event organizers erect additional grandstands to hold the crowd. The impact on the city is not insignificant. Formula DRIFT organizers estimate that the events have an economic impact of $10 million each year. Not only do the thousands of spectators spend money in town, but the event participants and organizers themselves generate hundreds of hotel rentals. And there are the indirect benefits – the exposure that Formula DRIFT generates for the city. Drifting fans, in general, are plugged in, and few of them miss the sights and sounds of Long Beach, whether they visit in person or follow via electronic communications media. “On the social media side, we are close to being No. 2 in terms of the number of fans
we have on our Facebook page. Currently, only NASCAR and Formula One are ahead of us – all others don’t compare,” Liaw says. “That speaks to the type of fan we have – they’re young, they’re educated, they’re tech-savvy and they’re super-engaged with us. The fans that are engaged with us and that are at our events, we feel that they are that much more impressionable.” It is the nature of drifting that engages that particular audience, says Ryan Sage, vice-president and co-founder of Formula DRIFT. “It’s a very visceral, very loud, very exciting, always changing format. You never seem to see the same thing twice. You see a lot of very close action. In motorsports, the closer (the competitors) get to each other, the more exciting it seems to be. That is the action that drifting
promotes,” Sage says. “In a world today where people are being bombarded with millions of marketing messages all the time, drifting (fits into) that quite well. It’s always a on the edge-of-your-seat, exciting from beginning to end, tight package. I think that’s one of the foundational reasons that it’s so appealing. “I think the other reason is that it has a great crossover appeal to action sports. Action sports fans get it because it’s a subjective motorsport. That’s what makes it unique. You have a built-in audience for fans who are fans of Shaun White (Olympic and X-Games gold medal-winning snowboarder) or Travis Pastrana (Gold medalwinning freestyle motocrosser) and they understand the subjectivity part of it. Now they have a motorsport that they can get behind and cheer on.” ■
A Brief History Of Formula Drift Note: The following is taken from the Formula Drift website, formulad.com. In Japan, the art of Drifting has been popular among the street racers or “hashiriya” for more than 15 years, and has morphed into one of the country's number one attended motorsports in less than a decade, where professional Japanese Drifters are the equivalent of national celebrities. To the novice, it would appear that drifting very recently crossed the Pacific Ocean and exploded into the world or racing not more than two years ago, but hard core enthusiasts know different. The American Drifting scene's roots can be traced back to the late 1980s and early 1990s. When drag racing was exploding across America, a small number of enthusiast's fascination was leaning toward an underground sport in Japan called canyon racing and drifting. Formula Drift, Inc. company was launched in November 2003 with an aim to present the first official drifting series in North America called Formula DRIFT or Formula D. In April 2004, the first Formula DRIFT event was held at Road Atlanta. In December of 2005, Formula DRIFT driver Vaughn Gittin, Jr. won the USA vs. Japan All Star event, becoming the first American to win an international competition and proving that the American drivers have raised the bar in North American drifting. In November of 2008, Formula DRIFT helped create the first ever drifting world championship, held in Long Beach. This event was the first of its kind and helped bring the sport of Maintaining control entering and exiting corners of a race circuit, drift racecar drivers intentionally, and sometimes unintendrifting recognition worldwide. Today, Formula DRIFT is in its 11th season tionally, over steer their cars around a corner in order to lose traction in the rear tires or all tires. Drift is achieved when the and provides a forum for professional drivers to compete in seven events rear of the vehicle turns in the opposite direction of its wheels. This style of driving came out of driving motorcycles through nationwide for the Formula DRIFT Championship crown. ■ mountain roads in Japan at high speeds around sharp corners. (Business Journal photograph by Jeff Shyu)
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TOYOTA GRAND PRIX OF LONG BEACH April 1-14, 2014
Long Beach Business Journal 13-B
Committee Of 300 ‘Redcoats’ Contributions To Annual Race And The Community Span 40 Years ■ By SAMANTHA MEHLINGER Staff Writer Formed with the creation of the event in Long Beach in 1975, the efforts of the Committee of 300 continue to support and enhance the Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach (TGPLB), in addition to contributing to the local community throughout the year. Although their uniforms have evolved over the years – from blazers and ties to polo shirts and windbreakers – the volunteer members of the nonprofit Committee – known as the C-300 – remain easy to spot in bright red jackets as they work the crowds during race weekend. Early in in the history of the race, those wearing these jackets earned the moniker “Redcoats.” Cathy Telaneus, a founding member of the C-300 who has worked at every single Grand Prix race, said she knows for a fact that the redcoats are recognized internationally. “We’re known worldwide by our red coat,” she said, relaying a story of how she has been asked if she was a member of the C-300 on trips to Monaco, France and Mexico. The members of the C-300 perform many tasks at the TGPLB, but Telaneus said that “ambassador” is perhaps the best word to suit their job description. Throughout the event, redcoats may be seen helping fans in the grandstands, working in the pressroom, manning information booths and staffing the group’s exclusive VIP area called The Paddock Club. “You’ll also see redcoats driving golf carts that transport the [racecar] drivers and crews in and out of the pressroom for their interviews,” Telaneus said. Now in her 40th year at the race, Telaneus said that she has worked in all of these capacities. In recent years she has worked in the pressroom, where she has connected with sportswriters from major publications. “I believe in the concept of the race and I think it has done a great thing for Long Beach,” Telaneus said of what motivates her to continue working at the race. The Paddock Club is the original VIP area at the TGPLB, although there are now several others, such as the Vista Club and Pit Lane Club, C-300 President Dian Morris said. “You can get a three-day Paddock Club ticket which gives you reserved seating and a full breakfast and lunch for Saturday and Sunday,” she said, adding that tickets for the club cost $295. “It’s the best deal on the track for the price,” she pointed out, noting that the next cheapest VIP area costs around $495. A Sunday-only ticket costs $160. Guests at The Paddock Club may watch the race from shaded comfort on closedcircuit televisions, take advantage of a full-service cash bar, listen and dance to live bands and browse memorabilia on display from past races. Paddock Club ticketholders have reserved seating in one
Members of the Committee of 300, a non-profit organization formed with the creation of the Grand Prix in 1975, visit the grandstands where their members will be helping race-goers during the 40th Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach. Pictured from left are: President Elect Phil Tondreault, President Dian Morris, Paddock Club Director Phyllis Covey and Immediate Past President Rich Carry. (Photograph by the Business Journal’s Thomas McConville)
of four grandstands in addition to the access to these amenities. Morris said it takes about seven months for the group to plan ahead for race activities. “The primary purpose [of the C-300] is to assist in the running of the Grand Prix race, but we have developed into a more community-oriented organization,” Morris, who has been a member for more than 20 years, noted. Each year, the C-300 puts on a Christmas party and a kick off event for the TGPLB, and donates proceeds raised to a selected local charity. “This year it is the Long Beach Police Foundation,” Morris said. Past benefitting charities include Steel Magnolias, which supports the Geraldine Stramski Children’s Development Center at Miller Children’s Hospital Long Beach, WomenShelter of Long Beach and others. The C-300 is also involved in assisting other local events such as the Long Beach Marathon, parades and community festivals, Morris said. “Basically, a lot of people that join the Committee don’t join because of the race, they join because of the other community services that we do,” she noted. Currently, the C300 has between 150 and 200 members, Morris said. As its namesake indicates, the committee cuts off membership at 300 people. Morris said that most members are recruited when current members enlist friends to volunteer for race week. She estimated that about 90 percent of members are local, and another 10 percent come into town just for race-week activities. ■
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TOYOTA GRAND PRIX OF LONG BEACH 14-B Long Beach Business Journal
April 1-14, 2014
Pro/Celebrity Race To Air April 27 On CBS Sports Network The Grand Prix Association of Long Beach announced that CBS Sports Network will air the 38th annual Pro/Celebrity Race. The race, which pits stars, musicians, athletes and inspirational figures against professional drivers in a 10lap race for charity, will premiere Sunday, April 27, at 5:30 p.m. “We are delighted to have the opportunity to air the always popular Pro/Celebrity Race on CBS Sports Network this year,” said Jim Michaelian, president and CEO of the Grand Prix Association of Long Beach. “It is the perfect choice to convey all the excitement and drama that is part of this race each year.” The Pro/Celebrity Race supports “Racing for Kids,” a national fundraising program for children’s hospitals throughout the United States. Through donations made by Toyota Motorsports and Toyota Motor Sales, U.S.A., the Pro/Celebrity Race has generated more than $2 million on behalf of the race and its participants, benefiting Miller Children’s Hospital of Long Beach and Children’s Hospital of Orange County. CBS Sports Network is available across the country through local cable, video and telco providers and via satellite on DirecTV Channel 221 and Dish Network Channel 158. For more information, including a full programming schedule and how to get CBS Sports Network, go to www.cbssportsnetwork.com. In 2014, the Pro/Celebrity Race partici-
Adrien Brody – Academy award-winning actor for his role in “The Pianist.” Most recently seen in “The Grand Budapest Hotel” and “Midnight in Paris,” plus the lead role in the upcoming miniseries “Houdini.”
pants will drive identical, race-prepared Scion FR-S around the 1.97-mile, 11-turn race circuit through Long Beach’s downtown streets. This year’s race field includes TV and film stars Adrien Brody, Corbin Bleu, Brett Davern, Tricia Helfer, Phil Keoghan, Sam Witwer and Olympic sprinter Carmelita Jeter, along with defending race winner Rutledge Wood, Kyle Petty and six-time Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach champ Al Unser Jr. competing as pros and starting
Tricia Helfer – Actress recently seen in the television show “Killer Women,” she also starred in “Battlestar Galactica” and “Burn Notice.”
Al Unser Jr. – Two-time CART Series Champion and two-time Indy 500 winner and overall winner of the 1985 and 2009 Toyota Pro/Celebrity Race.
30 seconds behind the Celebrity division. For more information on the Pro/Celebrity Race and the Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach, visit gplb.com. ■
Brett Davern – Actor who stars as Jake Rosati in MTV’s hit series “Awkward.” Other credits include the films “Movie 43” and “Born to Race; Fast Track.” Colin Egglesfield – Actor best known for his roles on “Rizzoli & Isles,” “The Client List” and “Melrose Place,” plus films such as “Open Road” and “Something Borrowed.” Doug Fregin – Co-founder and former vice president of operations for Research in Motion (RIM) and co-founder of Quantum Valley investments. Cole Houser – TV and film actor who will star in season 2 of “Rogue” and with Johnny Depp in the soon to be released “Transcendence.” Also seen in “Olympus Has Fallen” and “A Good Day to Die Hard.” Carmelita Jeter – American sprinter and 2012 Olympic gold, silver and bronze medalist, often dubbed “the fastest woman in the world.” Phil Keoghan – Emmy award-winning New Zealand-born television personality best known for his role as host of the popular series “The Amazing Race.” Vanessa Marcil – (right) Emmy awardwinning actress best known for her roles in “General Hospital” and “Las Vegas.” Kyle Petty – Former NASCAR racer and current FOX Sports 1 personality and co-host of radio’s “Fast Talk” on the Performance Racing Network. Dr. William Pinsky – Founder and president of “Racing for Kids” and executive vice president of Ochsner Health System. Lisa Stanley – Entertainment reporter on KEARTH 101FM morning show with Gary Bryan. Also featured on TV’s “Hard Copy” and radio’s “Rick Dees Show.” Max Thieriot – Actor who currently stars as Dylan Massett in “Bates Motel.” Other credits include the film “House at the End of the Street” and “Catch That Kid.” Nick Wechsler – Actor seen currently on ABC’s “Revenge” as Jack Porter. He also starred in “Roswell” and had recurring roles on “Without a Trace” and “It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia.” Sam Witwer – right, Portrays vampire Aidan Waite on the North American remake of “Being Human.” He was also seen on “Battlestar Galactica” and “Smallville.” Rutledge Wood – 2013 Toyota Pro/ Celebrity Race celebrity winner, auto racing analyst on Fox Sports 1 and co-host of “Top Gear USA.”
– Chris Esslinger, Grand Prix Association
The Field Of Drivers Corbin Bleu – Actor, model, dancer, producer and singer-songwriter who performed in the “High School Musical” film series and was the first runner-up in the 2013 Fall season of “Dancing with the Stars.” Eric Braeden – Emmy award-winning daytime superstar most recognized as Victor Newman on the popular soap opera, “The Young and the Restless.”
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P LEA SED T O B E A P ART OF THE LONG BEACH GRAND PRIX LANDSCAPE SINCE ITS INCEPTION. C O N G R AT U L AT I O N S ON 4 30 8 YEARS OF SUCCESS!
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