Photos by Asia Morris.
A 1,000-plus horsepower Can-Am race car sped through a portion of the 43rd Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach’s race circuit Tuesday, as an introduction to one of the featured races of the April event, the Can-Am challenge.
“Think of the cacophony of sound that’s going to emanate when you have 19 of these cars,” said Jim Michaelian, president and CEO of the Grand Prix Association. “It’s going to be fantastic. They’ve never raced on a city circuit, and this will be the very first time they do.”
The Can-Am race car that wowed local media with its flashy blue exterior and loud rumblings this morning, is retired L.A. Superior Court Judge Joseph DiLoreto’s 1968 McLaren M6B, once raced by American Indycar and Formula One competitor Peter Revson.
Revson was the first American to win the Canadian-American Challenge Cup in 1971, according to NBC Sports, and finished second in the Indy 500 the same year. Known in Formula One as an “American Racing Hero,” he died at age 35 during a test run for the 1974 South African Grand Prix in Kyalami.
The historic engines will highlight the golden age of Can-Am Racing, showcasing marques such as McLaren, Lola, Shadow and more, according to the Grand Prix.
“These are special cars that were built back in 1966 and 1974 and have a great history,” Michaelian said. “They were really the beasts of the race tracks back in their day and we’re excited to be able to bring them back on the streets of Long Beach.”
The Grand Prix will run April 7-9 and feature, in addition to the Can-Am Challenge, the Verizon IndyCar Series, IMSA’s BUBBA burger Sports Car Grand Prix, Pirelli World Challenge, SPEED Energy Stadium SUPER Trucks and the Motegi Racing Super Drift Challenge on Friday and Saturday nights, according to the release.
“We also have two major concerts, one of them on Saturday we’re really excited about,” said Michaelian. “We have Kings of Chaos and it’s going to feature Billy Idol, Billy Gibbons from ZZ top and Chester Bennington from Linkin Park. It is going to be our biggest concert ever and we’re looking forward to capping off Saturday in a really wild way.”
Thunder Thursday, the kick-off festival for the Grand Prix, will take place on Thursday, April 6 in a new location, it was also announced earlier. Fans can enjoy freestyle motocross demonstrations, motorcycle stunts, pit stop competitions, an exotic, race and classic car show and live music at The Pike Outlets starting at 6:30PM.