The Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach will kick off its race weekend with Thunder Thursday at The Pike Outlets, Thursday, April 6.

Previously held on Pine Avenue and Broadway, the new location at The Pike Outlets will allow for a larger crowd.

“The new location for Thunder Thursday will provide a much better opportunity for everyone to come out and enjoy the festivities at The Pike Outlets,” Jim Michaelian, president and CEO of the Grand Prix Association of Long Beach, said in a statement. “More room, more activities and more exhibits means more fun for everyone.”

The free festival will include the Verizon IndyCar Series pitstop competitions on Shoreline Drive at 6:45PM and 7:45PM. Three-time Long Beach winner Sebastien Bourdais in the #18 Dale Coyne Racing Honda will face off against Spencer Pigot in the #20 Ed Carpenter Racing Chevrolet. Freestyle motocross demonstrations will also take place on Shoreline Drive at 7:05PM and 8:05PM and Tony Carbajal, from Speed TV’s “Superbikes,” will perform stunts at 7:30PM, 8:30PM and 8:50PM.


Both of these events can be viewed from the grandstands at Pine Avenue and Shoreline Drive.

A car show featuring local classic, vintage and antique cars will be held in The Paseo, along with free race car simulators.

On Bay Street, there will be a race car display with professional drivers and crews from the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship, Pirelli World Challenge and SPEED Energy Stadium SUPER Trucks signing autographs.

“The Pike Outlets is thrilled to host Thunder Thursday for the first time at the newly renovated shopping center and waterfront area,” Morgan Erickson, property manager of The Pike Outlets, said in a statement. “We look forward to partnering with The Grand Prix Association of Long Beach to host this free event packed with great attractions to kick off the race weekend. We welcome the community, visitors and Grand Prix fans to experience all The Pike Outlets has to offer including shopping, dining and entertainment.”

Live music from Hearts Like Lions, Spencer Sutherland and various DJs will be playing in the main plaza of the The Pike Outlets throughout the night. Food vendors such as Famous Dave’s BBQ will be located in the main plaza, alongside the Tecate Beer Garden for those 21 and older.

Additionally, The Pike Outlet’s street team will be giving away prizes and special offers to those in attendance.

Thursday night will also be the debut of the winners of the 2017 Miss Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach.

Thunder Thursday begins runs from 6:30PM to 10:00PM and parking for the event will be available at the parking structure on Shoreline Drive and Chestnut Avenue. For more information on the event, click here.

The Pike Outlets is located at 95 South Pine Avenue.

Above, left: file photo.

Stephanie Rivera is the community engagement editor. Reach her at [email protected] or on Twitter at @StephRivera88.