The Long Beach Street Circuit is a temporary street circuit in Long Beach, California. The first race held was a Formula 5000 event in 1975, as a shakedown for a Formula One event, starting the following spring. There were a total of eight F1 races held before rising costs caused the management to switch to Indianapolis-style cars in 1984. The Indycars have been a fixture ever since. In 2015, the circuit also joined the Formula E series.
In 1973, when the City of Long Beach was planning a billion-dollar redevelopment for the downtown core, British expatriate and travel agent Chris Pook had an idea. He felt that Long Beach would never come out of the shadow of nearby Los Angeles without a unique and world-famous event, and what could be a better event than a Formula One race that emulated the Monaco Grand Prix. He eventually met former driver and constructor Dan Gurney, who lived in the area and loved the idea. The two of them nursed the project through many financial and bureaucratic hurdles. They were finally granted a date on the 1976 Formula One calendar, contingent on a successful dry run.
The 1975 Long Beach Grand Prix was a pure Formula 5000 race held on September 28. The organizers offered almost double the usual prize fund for the North American Formula 5000 series, and in response a huge entry of 44 cars was received. 39 cars actually showed up, and to their dismay the officials discovered that the pit road was not long enough to accommodate all of them. So the field was broken in two, with a pair of 12 lap heats held, and the top 14 finishers moving on to the final. Included in the field were F1 names Chris Amon, Mario Andretti, Tony Brise, George Follmer, David Hobbs, Brett Lunger, Jackie Oliver, Tom Pryce, Brian Redman, Jody Scheckter, Vern Schuppan, Al and Bobby Unser and Eppie Wietzes.
Circuit Layouts Edit
The circuit has always been a clockwise loop around the Long Beach sports arena and convention hall, the latter acting as the paddock. The original circuit used the section of Ocean Boulevard, between Pine and Linden, for the grid and start/finish line. Ocean is a divided 6-lane street, so the track used the westbound (north) side, and the pits were on the eastbound (south) side. A 90° right onto Linden took the cars on a sharply downhill block to the 90° left onto Seaside Way and the flat area of the circuit. A gentler right-hand bend took the cars into the parking lot of the arena and through a longer, sweeping left onto Shoreline Drive. Shoreline is another divided 6-lane road, with the course following it northeast, almost back to Ocean.
After a 180 degree right hairpin, the cars headed down the back straight (still on Shoreline), which was a bit of a misnomer, as a series of gentle bends turns the track more than 100° to the right along it's 3/4 mile length. At the intersection of Shoreline and Pacific, another 180° right sent the cars back to Pine Avenue, where the cars turned north. A quick right/left jog had the cars in another parking lot until reaching Seaside again, where a left/right jog puts the cars on the sharp uphill back to Ocean. A sweeping right past the pit entrance and the cars were on the front straight again, which itself was actually slightly downhill after the timing line.
The following is a list of Formula One World Championship events held at the Long Beach circuit:
|Year||Winning Driver||Winning Constructor||Report|
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