Parts of Grand Prix track to remain in place until May after City Council approval

Long Beach will allow portions of the Acura Grand Prix of Long Beach race track to stay in place until May 2022 after the City Council approved a request from race organizers Tuesday night that they say will cut back on setup time and costs.

Roughly 1,000 concrete rails will remain in place on Shoreline Drive, Seaside Way and in the “Elephant Lot,” the parking lot next to the Long Beach Arena, with the 2022 race setup window just months away.

Race organizers said that leaving up about half of the 2,400 concrete blocks it put in place for the race last month would save them about three days of setup time and around $89,000, some of which will be used to resurface city streets defaced by race activity.

Jim Michaelian, president and CEO of the Grand Prix Association of Long Beach, said last week that it typically takes about 53 days to set up the track and three weeks to take it all down. Crews begin setting up this year’s race in early August.

The association had originally asked the city to leave up more than just the concrete blocks but its request was reduced to less than half of the concrete blocks in place for the Sept. 25 race weekend.

City Manager Tom Modica said that the location of the blocks, which will be east of Pine Avenue, is not expected to interfere with businesses at The Pike or the Aquarium of the Pacific.

The 2021 race was pushed to late September as race organizers hoped to host the race during a time of the year where large crowds were allowed to gather with limited restrictions. The race is traditionally held in April but Los Angeles County had barely entered the “orange’ tier of the state’s reopening plan in April which still disallowed crowds at sporting events.

The 2022 race is scheduled for April 8-10.

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