Track construction for the 49th Acura Grand Prix of Long Beach is underway along Shoreline Drive.

Race weekend runs from April 19 to 21, but on Thursday, city officials and race organizers celebrated the official start of track construction for the popular 1.97-mile street course.

“We’re looking forward to having a fabulous event coming off the momentum that we had out of last year with record crowds, great weather and a lot of energy,” Grand Prix Association of Long Beach President and CEO Jim Michaelian said Thursday.

Grand Prix Association of Long Beach President and CEO Jim Michaelian, third from left, Mayor Rex Richardson, center, and union workers celebrate the start of track construction Thursday, Feb. 29, 2024. Photo by Brandon Richardson.

Work on the portion of the track in the Convention Center parking lot began a week ago, according to Grand Prix spokesperson Chris Esslinger, but work on Long Beach’s streets can only start 50 days out from the race per the agreement with the city.

The track consists of 4.25 miles of debris fencing, 25 miles of cabling and 14 million pounds of concrete blocks, according to the association. It takes more than 33,000 work hours to complete construction.

The portion of the track near the Pike and Aquarium of the Pacific is the last to be erected and the first to be removed following the race to minimize impacts to businesses, Esslinger said. Following the race, the track is fully removed in about two weeks, he added.

Brandon Richardson is a reporter and photojournalist for the Long Beach Post and Long Beach Business Journal.