Famed Toyota Grand Prix Of Long Beach Racing Circuit Beginning To Take Shape

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LONG BEACH, Calif. (Feb. 19, 2013) — The green flag signaling the start of construction for the 39th Annual Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach, which will run April 19-21, fell this morning on Shoreline Drive, the famed racing circuit’s front straightaway.

The honorary construction foremen were Long Beach Mayor Bob Foster, Papadakis Racing owner Stephan Papadakis, Formula DRIFT President & Co-Founder Jim Liaw and Grand Prix Association of Long Beach President & CEO Jim Michaelian. Also on-hand were the Papadakis Racing Scion tC, which will be driven in 2013 by top Drifting driver Frederic Aasbo, and, courtesy of Toyota Motorsports, an all-new, race-prepared Scion FR-S that will be driven in the 2013 Toyota Pro/Celebrity Race.

“Our race circuit will feature something extra this year as we will be hosting the first-ever night racing in the Motegi Racing Super Drift Challenge on Friday and Saturday,” said Michaelian. “Along with the six other racing events here in April, this should make for one of the most entertaining weekends in our history.”

The setting of the first of more than 14 million pounds of concrete blocks that line the track marks the beginning of two months of work preparing for the 175,000 fans expected during race weekend.

“It’s three days of great parties and great racing,” said Foster. “The Grand Prix brings a lot of people to Long Beach. Our hotels get filled up, our restaurants get filled up and people understand that Long Beach is a really a great city, a great place to have a good time.”

Track Construction
More than 30,000 working hours will be spent installing the  blocks, three miles of fencing and 16,000 bolted-together tires, along with 16 huge spectator grandstands, seven pedestrian bridges and giant-vision boards for full-circuit TV coverage. The heavy-duty blocks and fencing, however, are merely a start.“

Leading up to race weekend, our staff will also install hospitality suites, tents, electrical  equipment, phones, porta-johns, trash containers and a hundred other little things up until race weekend,” said Dwight Tanaka, director of operations for the Grand Prix Association.  “Then, when the last checkered flag falls on Sunday night, we start to take everything down, inspect it and get ready for next year.”

All businesses along the race circuit, which includes Shoreline Drive, Aquarium Way and Pine Ave., will remain open during construction of the racetrack.

The 2013 Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach will feature racing from the IZOD IndyCar Series, Tequila Patrón American Le Mans Series, Firestone Indy Lights, Pirelli World Challenge, Formula DRIFT, Robby Gordon OFF-ROAD Stadium SUPER Trucks and the Toyota Pro/Celebrity Race.

Fans can select and pay for their seats, parking and paddock passes online at gplb.com. Tickets can also be ordered by calling the toll-free ticket hotline, (888) 82-SPEED, and callers can request a printed ticket brochure that includes a circuit map, ticket prices, order form and other information. Also featured on gplb.com is the latest Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach news, downloadable ticket brochure and racetrack information, photos and ongoing announcements of special race week activities.

Ticket prices range from $28 for a Friday General Admission ticket to $130 for a threeday ticket that includes Sat./Sun. reserved seating in grandstand upper levels.  Pre-paid parking packages are also available, along with handicapped seating, IndyCar Paddock passes, Super Photo tickets and a wide variety of Hospitality Club packages.

Fans can also follow the Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach on Facebook at GrandPrixLB and on Twitter @ToyotaGPLB.

Rhys Millen is Victorious at Formula DRIFT Round 6: After Dark

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Rhys Millen is Victorious at Formula DRIFT Round 6: After Dark;
Championship Will Come Down to Final Event of the Season

Long Beach, Calif. – August 26, 2012 – Formula DRIFT returned to the Las Vegas Motor Speedway for Round 6: After Dark. Rhys Millen in the RMR / Hankook Hyundai Genesis Coupe takes the victory and moves up to third place in the overall points standings leading into the final event of the season.

Round 6: After Dark brought drifting back to Sin City and treated fans to a night spectacle that included the Vegas ProAm championship, Slammed Society car show, Targa Trophy display of vehicles and more. The Driftstream saw an estimated 150,000 viewers in a 24-hour period.

“The Las Vegas round of competition is always one of the most action-packed, but with a completely new course it challenged the drivers and excited the fans,“ said Jim Liaw, president and co-founder of Formula DRIFT. “Each year we have seen an increase in attendance and have accommodated with the addition of extra grand stands. This was a very exciting event to lead into the championship round in October. This was another tight championship chase with three former champions in the top five.”

A new track configuration was added to the event at the Las Vegas Motor Speedway giving an extra challenge for the drivers to adjust to the new course along with the weather conditions of the desert. Robbie Nishida in the Bridges Racing / Achilles Tires Lexus SC300 faced points leader Vaughn Gittin, Jr. in the Monster Energy / Falken Ford Mustang in a battle for third place. Gittin took the win and secures his point lead in the chase for the championship. The final battle pitted second place qualifier, Rhys Millen, fresh off his record setting victory at Pikes Peak in the same Hyundai Genesis Coupe that he competed in at this event, against the number one qualifier, Frederic Aasbo in the Need for Speed / Hankook Scion tC. On his lead run, Aasbo met the wall to give the advantage to Millen. On the second run Millen kept a consistent line to take the victory moving him to third place overall and within striking distance of the point leaders.

“It was an incredible victory for our entire crew at RMR, for Hyundai, Pulse and Hankook. To come here from Pikes Peak in the exact same car in a different configuration and in a different driving style and to do it back to back,” said Rhys Millen, winner of Round 6: After Dark. “This is a true drivers course and suits the car well and we were flawless all day long. Unfortunately, some of our competitors gifted us a couple wins, but at the end of the day we put the pressure on them to run deep and fast.”

The chase for the championship is as tight as it has ever been and will be decided at the final event of the season. The Formula DRIFT Pro Championship Round 7: Title Fight on October 12-13 at Irwindale Speedway. Tickets are on-sale now and can be purchased on the Formula DRIFT website.