This weekend sees IndyCar stay in Califormia after Laguna Seca. Both IndyCar and the fantastic IMSA SportsCar Championship head to the iconic location of Long Beach. This will be the finale of the 2021 IndyCar season. Here's everything you need to know about one of America's great motorsport events.
The History of the Long Beach circuit
Long Beach has been a legendary motorsport venue since its inaugural race in 1975. This Monaco inspired spot was planned by a travel agent to bring tourists to the Long Beach area. Nowadays the area is replete with luxury hotels rather than being an industrial area as it was in the '70s.
The final Formula 1 Grand Prix at the circuit in 1983 was one of the greatest F1 races ever, as the McLaren cars of Watson and Lauda battled through the pack from 22nd and 23rd on the grid for a famous 1-2. Keke Rosberg's full 360 degree spin on cold tyres on lap 1 still often features in Formula 1 montages.
The Grand Prix of Long Beach was a Formula 1 event from 1976 to 1983 and then part of the CART championship and successor series IndyCar from 1984 onwards.
IndyCar in 2021
IndyCar, America's answer to Formula 1, is enjoying a very competitive season. Two youngsters will battle for the title: Alex Palou for Chip Ganassi Racing and Pato O'Ward for Arrow McLaren SP. Josef Newgarden for Team Penske is also mathematically in contention, but looks like a long shot for the championship title.
After a great result at Laguna Seca, ex-Formula 1 driver Romain Grosjean is catching New Zealander Scott McLaughlin for the Rookie of the Year honours. This will also be a close battle at Long Beach.
While there isn't currently an official IndyCar game, if you have a copy of the recently delisted Forza Motorsport 7 you can drive IndyCar machinery at Long Beach. The upcoming official IndyCar game is due for release in 2023.
IMSA SportsCar Championship
With two further rounds to go in this year's IMSA SportsCar Championship, this isn't as critical a race for these drivers as it is for the IndyCar racers. It will be amazing to see the DPi cars in action around the challenging Long Beach circuit though.
This is multi-class racing, but not every category contests every event. This week, we'll see the Daytona Prototype international cars as well as GT Le Mans and GT Daytona competitors. LMP2 and LMP3 cars will be back for the final event of the year, the Petit Le Mans at Road Atlanta.
In the Drivers' Championship, the Acura pairing of Filipe Alburquerque and Ricky Taylor lead the way in the standings, followed by the Brazilian duo of Pipo Derani and Felipe Nasr for Cadillac.
We'd love to see an official IMSA game but for now we have to be content to drive these tracks and some cars from this series in Gran Turismo and Forza games.
Watching the action at Long Beach
IndyCar is broadcast by NBC Sports in the US and by Sky Sports F1 in the UK. The race starts Sunday at 12:45 in California, or 8:45pm in the UK.
IMSA is also broadcast on NBC Sports in the US. Race coverage starts on Saturday at 5pm ET. In the UK and most other countries, the race can be streamed live on IMSA TV.
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