It was just announced moments ago that the 2021 Acura Grand Prix Of Long Beach has been postponed from its traditional date in April to the weekend of September 24th-26th. This is only the second time in the history of the Grand Prix that the race weekend would take place outside of April.
The first time was back when Formula 5000 came to Long Beach; That race was in September as well.
As you may have guessed, the main reason for pushing the race back is due to the global pandemic. The 2020 race was cancelled due to COVID concerns and it seems that is spilling over into next year a bit.
While it is true that currently vaccines for COVID are starting to roll out now, it will take some time before the vaccine is available to the general public. That means executing and planning a race for April would be prohibitively difficult for the Long Beach Grand Prix Association.
It’s also unclear if enough of the population would be vaccinated in time to make a large gathering in April safe.
By pushing the race back towards the end of the year, it is much more likely that most of the American public will have been vaccinated thus drastically reducing the threat of spreading COVID to vulnerable people.
This move also means that the Acura Grand Prix of Long Beach will serve as the Indy Car series finale in 2021; Which could possibly amp up the excitement of the race if there is a tight points battle in 2021.
However, there are some questions that arise from this move. Namely, what this means for Formula Drift. For several years now, the Formula Drift season opener has co-opted with the Grand Prix in April. Formula Drift uses the same course as the Grand Prix.
If the Grand Prix course isn’t there in April then does Formula Drift shift their schedule as well? It is a strong tradition for Formula Drift to finish the season out in Irwindale so it is unlikely Long Beach would take the place of “The House Of Drift” in that respect.
The official release does say that Formula Drift will be a part of the race weekend but it may just be as a demo or as the Motegi Super Drift Invitational competition and not as a round of Formula Drift’s season.
I will reach out to Formula Drift and ask about how this may or may not affect their plans for 2021 and I’ll update this post should I hear anything back.
Stay tuned for updates!
DECEMBER 17, 2020.
Grand Prix Association of Long Beach (GPALB) officials announced that the 2021 Acura Grand Prix of Long Beach, originally scheduled for April 16-18, will now take place September 24-26 and become the season finale of the 2021 NTT INDYCAR® SERIES season.
In making the move, GPALB President and CEO Jim Michaelian cited the current status of the coronavirus pandemic, which has made it doubtful that the organization could conduct the Acura Grand Prix as originally intended in April. Michaelian made the decision to move the date in coordination with all the GPALB’s racing series partners and Long Beach officials in anticipation that the event will be able to run in September with full fan participation.
“We are very grateful to all of our fans, sponsors and exhibitors for their extraordinary loyalty and support over the past year,” said Michaelian. “We want all of our attendees to fully experience all of the joy and excitement of the event in a safe and welcoming environment and we believe that this move to a fall date will afford us that opportunity. We want to thank all those who were of assistance in facilitating this rescheduling and we look forward to welcoming everyone back to the streets of Long Beach in September.”
“It is important to have Long Beach rescheduled to continue the history and tradition for one of the series’ hallmark events in one of the nation’s premier media markets,” Penske Entertainment Corp. President and CEO Mark Miles said. “Further, it’s a tremendous opportunity to wrap up the season with three-straight iconic venues for what we believe will be our most exciting season yet. As we did during the 2020 season, we will continue to monitor the COVID-19 situation and maintain flexibility across our schedule. We are committed to an action-packed and exhilarating 2021 NTT INDYCAR SERIES.”
It will be the first time the Acura Grand Prix of Long Beach has run in September since the event’s inaugural Formula 5000 race, which took place Sept. 28, 1975.
In addition to INDYCAR, the Acura Grand Prix will feature on-track action from the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship, Formula Drift, Robby Gordon’s Stadium SUPER Trucks and the Historic Formula Atlantic Challenge. Additional on-track activities, as well as off-track attractions, will be announced in the coming months along with a more detailed event schedule.
Tickets for the Acura Grand Prix of Long Beach are expected to go on sale in mid-2021, with ticket prices and options to be announced. Fans that chose to credit their 2020 Grand Prix tickets to 2021 will get priority placement in their seating before 2021 tickets go on sale to the general public.
For the latest news and information on the Acura Grand Prix, visit gplb.com or follow us on Facebook at GrandPrixLB, Twitter @GPLongBeach and Instagram at GPLongBeach.