Here it is folks! Our final motorsport gallery from the Long Beach Grand Prix. We saved one of the best for last and today you get to see the American LeMans Race on the streets of Long Beach from my eyes, or lens rather. This is one of my favorite events to shoot because there is such a wide variety of cars all on track at once. It will be interesting to see how this race is going to look next year when ALMS and Grand AM officially merge.
If you missed the results, NGT Motorsports took the victory in the GTC class, Team Rahal Letterman Lanigan took the victory with their BMW Z4 in the GT class, Scott Sharp and Extreme Speed Motorsports won in P2, CORE Autosport won in the Porsche Challenge (PC) class, and Muscle Milk/Pickett Racing took the victory in P1.
To get some glimpses of how all the on track action played out click the red text to visit our facebook gallery. Here’s to next year!
My favorite thing about the Toyota Grand Prix Of Long Beach (besides it being in my hometown) is that being a “Grand Prix” means there are several races in several classes all crammed into one weekend. Sure, Indy Car is the main event but the support races are anything but second string. This year, a crowd favorite was the Pirelli World Challenge which features makes and models that most of us own or could reasonably afford (with the exception of the GMG Racing Audi R8s and Black Swan Racing’s SLS AMG). Watching everything from an SLS to a Chevy Camaro mix it up on city streets all in a perfectly legal matter makes for some top notch entertainment!
This year’s winner was James Safronas of GMG Racing. James is something of a hometown hero since his GMG team is somewhat local being based out of the OC. James took the pole position in his Audi R8 GT and utilized his starting position to fight his way to a victory. To see all the track action click on the red text for our Facebook gallery. Enjoy!
I know I am a little behind but hey I took on three days and three different motorsports all by myself! It was rough, but fun. By now you probably already know that Takuma Sato made history by winning the Toyota Grand Prix Of Long Beach and becoming the first Japanese driver to win an Indy Car event as well as the first Japanese driver to win at Long Beach. However, despite what he said in his post race interview, it did not come easy.
Long Beach is known for being a dangerous narrow street course and the walls ate up plenty of drivers this year, including defending champion Ryan Hunter-Reay. Sato was able to navigate his way through all of the random carnage unscathed and his team managed a top notch pit stop to keep their driver up front which allowed him to go on and get the victory. Graham Rahal came second behind Sato and Justin Wilson got his first podium of the season with a third place finish.
If you want to see all the action for yourself check out the highlight reel below. If you want to see the fruit of my three days of labor hit the red text for the full gallery on our facebook page.
I have known this bit of information for almost a year now when I asked Toyota Motorsports Manager Les Unger about this at the post-race press conference during last year’s Pro Celebrity Race. However, today at the Chicago Auto Show Toyota made the official announcement that the FR-S will in fact replace the tC as the Pro Celebrity racecar this year. At first glance it may look like a stock FR-S with some graphics and wheels but there is more than meets the eye here. No, I don’t mean its going to turn into a giant robot. I mean that the race engineers ripped out the interior, added a roll cage, fire system, window nets, a TRD suspension, TRD Air Box, and TRD custom exhaust system.
The air box and exhaust system increase the power output from 200 to 210. That may not seem like a lot but for a bunch of celebrities, some of which will have never even driven a manual transmission car prior to their race training, that is more than a decent amount of power!
If you want to see the new FR-S celebrity race car come together then scroll down for the official build video hosted by Scion Racing driver Ken Gushi.
CHICAGO, Feb. 7, 2013 – Toyota Motorsports and Scion announced today that the Scion FR-S sports coupe will be the official vehicle of the 2013 Toyota Pro/Celebrity Race. This first Pro/Celebrity race-ready vehicle is making its debut here at the Chicago Auto Show.
The Toyota Pro/Celebrity Race will take place April 20 and mark the 37th anniversary of the charity event held annually as part of the Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach weekend. It also marks the first time in 27years that a rear-wheel drive sports car will serve as the designated race car.
“The transformation of the FR-S into a race vehicle is a dream come true for many die-hard FR-S fans, and we wanted to share the journey with consumers at the Chicago Auto Show,” said Doug Murtha, Scion vice president. “Scion vehicles have been driven in the Pro/Celebrity race vehicle since 2005, and we can’t wait to see the rear-wheel drive FR-S race around the historic street course.”
The race-ready, identically-prepared FR-S cars will produce 210 horsepower, equipped with performance enhancements that include a range of Toyota Racing Development (TRD) products such as: stainless-steel exhaust, coil-over shocks and springs, big brake kit featuring Hawk Performance brake pads, performance air intake and 18 inch wheels. Other custom equipment includes a Centerforce single disc racing clutch, front MacPherson struts and a rear double wishbone suspension.
A build video shows the transformation of the FR-S into a race vehicle and highlights the painstaking process and level of detail that goes into each of the 25 race vehicles created for the event.
“The newly designed Scion FR-S sports coupes are being prepared to debut in time for the 37th anniversary of one of America’s most entertaining motorsports events,” said Les Unger, Toyota national motorsports manager. “Our participants should find it easy to celebrate this year’s race theme – Revved Up to Race – sitting behind the wheel of a race-ready Scion FR-S. The drivers will compete for a chance to earn yearlong bragging rights and acknowledge charitable donations made on their behalf.“
The Toyota Pro/Celebrity race has evolved into one of the longest-running corporate-sponsored events of its kind, pitting celebrities from music, sports and film against professional race drivers. The event benefits “Racing for Kids,” a nonprofit, national fundraising program that supports children’s hospitals throughout the United States.
Since 1977, Toyota Pro/Celebrity Race participants have included many Hollywood elites such as Keanu Reeves, Ashley Judd, Adrien Brody, Cameron Diaz, George Lucas, Queen Latifah and Jay Leno. Outside the red carpet, participants include former astronaut Edwin “Buzz” Aldrin, NFL star John Elway, NBA All-Star Karl Malone, X Games Champion Tony Hawk, Olympic gymnast Mary Lou Retton and twelve-time Olympic medalist Dara Torres.
Toyota has donated more than $2 million to the Racing for Kids organization since 1991 on behalf of the Pro/Celebrity race and its participants. In addition to Toyota’s annual contributions, a $15,000 donation will be made in conjunction with the 16th annual “People Pole Award.” Sponsored by People magazine, the award honors the pole-position winner of the Toyota Pro/Celebrity Race qualifying session on April 19.
2013 Toyota Pro / Celebrity Scion FR-S Specifications ENGINE
Type 4-cylinder, boxer type, 16-valve DOHC with Variable Valve Timing Control
Displacement 2.0L (121.9 Cu. In.)
Power 210 hp @ 7000 rpm
Induction Fuel Injection D-4S (Direct and Port Injection System) TRD Performance Air Intake
Bore X Stroke 86.0 mm X 86.0mm
Compression Ratio 12.5:1
Fuel F&L racing fuel 100 octane unleaded
Exhaust TRD stainless-steel exhaust
Motor Oil Redline 0W20 synthetic
Transmission 6-speed manual with Redline MTL synthetic transmission fluid
Differential Limited-slip differential
Clutch Centerforce single-disc racing clutch
Body Scion FR-S
Graphics Vinyl graphics by Hukill Paint and Graphics
Type 4-wheel independent
Front MacPherson strut with TRD custom coil-over shocks and springs
Rear Double-wishbone with TRD custom coil-over shocks and springs
WHEELS AND TIRES
Wheels TRD 18 X 7.5 in.
Tires Bridgestone Potenza RE11, 225/40/18
Brakes 4-wheel disc with ABS and TRD big brake kit. Hawk Performance brake pads
Safety Full roll cage, Onboard fire system, Window net, 5-point seatbelts
Race Weight 2775 lb.
Wheelbase 101.2 in.
Overall Length 166.7 in.
Overall Width 69.9 in.
Overall Height 48.7 in.
Ground Clearance 3.0 in.
Track Width Front — 59.8 in., Rear — 60.6 in.
Fuel Capacity 13.2 gal.
It took some time and a lot of deleting (I am not the best photographer!) but I have finally processed, sized, and marked all of my photos from the 2012 Toyota Grand Prix Of Long Beach! Rather than have a bunch of different galleries I just took the best pictures from each part of the weekend I experienced and put them all together into one big album on the official MotorworldHype.com Facebook page. There are a few appitizers below but the real feast is in the GALLERY so go check it out!
When there are echos of high-revving engines bouncing off the skyscrapers of downtown Long Beach and tire smoke billowing across Shoreline drive it can only mean one thing: Formula D is back and the Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach is following right behind it. Formula Drift is this weekend and the Grand Prix follows the weekend right after but to kick things off the Grand Prix association in conjunction with Formula Drift held a joint media day for both events yesterday on the Long Beach Grand Prix course. Journalists from all over were invited out to the course to meet all the celebrities that will participate in the Toyota Pro-Celebrity Race this year and also had a chance meet, greet, and ride along with a few of the top Formula Drift drivers. A lucky few also got a few full course hot laps in a Grand-Am series Mustang and a Touring Car series Porsche. Unfortunately I was not one of those lucky few but there is always next year.
The highlight of the day was the Celebrities participating in the Toyota Pro-Celebrity Race. If you are unfamiliar with the Celebrity race then allow me to initiate you. For the last 20+ year Toyota ships off a group of celebrites to a racing school to learn the tricks of the trade then unleashes them on the course on the Saturday before the “big race” armed with a Toyota sports coupe (it was the Toyota Celica for most of the event’s history until the Scion tC took over when it was released). To make things even more interesting a few professional racers (the ”pros”) are thrown into the mix. To make things less one-sided the celebs are given a 15 second head start over the pros. However, as you might suspect the pros catch up and things get really, really dicey which makes for incredibly entertaining automotive carnage. This year the group consists of a few rookies like Djimon Hounsou and a few more veterans returning to the race such as Frankie Muniz and last year’s winner Brian Austin Green who is determined to repeat his win despite the vegas odds not being in his favor (true story). At the end of the day the real winners are the various charities that the Toyota Pro-Celebrity Race benefits. During lunch the drivers took place in the annual tradition of randomly choosing their numbers as well as signing a unique piece of art work that will be auctioned off for charity.
After those festivities, the drifters took to the track to scare the crap out of journalists from all walks of life while getting a bit of early practice in before competition day this Saturday. Chris Forsberg, Mike Essa, Kyle Mohan, Joon Maeng, Jeff Abbot, Sam Hubinette, Ryan Tuerck, Taka Aono, Robbie Nishida and Alex Pfeiffer were all in attendance in their new cars (with the exception of Tuerck and Aono) and were all looking great! As usual they got quite a bit of attention from the celebrities as well. I’m starting to think that maybe there should be a “celebrity drift competition” worked into the grand prix one of these years. What do you think? Yay? Nay? Wishful thinking I guess. Anyhow feel free to check out some of my pics from the event below as well as a quick interview with Djimon Hounsou and then for the full 120 image gallery head over to the MotorworldHype.com Facebook Page.