Organizers push 2021 Grand Prix to September, expect ‘full fan participiation’

Race organizers for the Acura Grand Prix of Long Beach announced Thursday that the annual race typically held in April would be postponed to September amid ongoing health concerns due to the coronavirus pandemic.

The race had been scheduled for the weekend of April 16 but will now be pushed to Sept. 24-26, organizers said in a press release. The race will now be the season finale for the 2021 NTT Indycar Series Season.

Jim Michaelian, the CEO and president of the Grand Prix Association of Long Beach, doubted the ability to pull off the race in April and made the decision to push it back to September, when he hopes the race will be able to be held with “full fan participation.”

“We are very grateful to all of our fans, sponsors and exhibitors for their extraordinary loyalty and support over the past year,” said Michaelian.

“We want all of our attendees to fully experience all of the joy and excitement of the event in a safe and welcoming environment and we believe that this move to a fall date will afford us that opportunity. We want to thank all those who were of assistance in facilitating this rescheduling and we look forward to welcoming everyone back to the streets of Long Beach in September.”

It will be the first time that the race has been run in September in the city since the event’s inaugural Formula 5000 race, which was hosted by Long Beach in September 1975.

The 2020 race was canceled in March after the first cases of COVID-19 were diagnosed in the state and city leaders moved to cancel large scale events in Long Beach.

The idea that moving the race to September could allow for full fan participation has been buoyed by national health experts projecting that the nation could return to some state of normalcy by the summer.

However, when events that draw over 180,000 fans like the Grand Prix has in the past would be allowed to resume activities has yet to be discussed.

Long Beach received its first shipment of coronavirus vaccines this week, which are expected to be given to healthcare workers first. In a press conference last week Mayor Robert Garcia said that he didn’t expect the general public to have access to the vaccine until late spring.

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Jason Ruiz covers City Hall and politics for the Long Beach Post.
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