Grand-Am race introduced to L.B.

first_imgIt was hard to categorize the addition of the Grand-Am Rolex Series to the 2006 Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach. Is it just another support race? A co-headliner? Jim Michaelian, the CEO of the Grand Prix Association, had another term. “Tremendous.” The announcement meant the end of Grand-Am at the California Speedway. The Fontana track also lost its 2006 IRL race three weeks ago. “It’s a difference of night and day between our last announcements,” said speedway president Gillian Zucker. “This was an excellent business decision for Grand American, it’s important to the series.” Staff writer Louis Brewster contributed to this report. 160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MOREThe top 10 theme park moments of 2019 About 25 cars are expected for the competition that will be part of what organizers are calling “Super Saturday.” The race will follow the final Champ Car qualifying session and will lead into the concert and Ms. Grand Prix Pageant. Michaelian said that the addition of Grand-Am may draw out as many as 65,000 on race Saturday, which would be about a 30-percent boost. The 2006 LBGP is scheduled for April 7-9. The involvement of Lexus Toyota’s luxury brand in Grand-Am was a factor. Toyota has been the title sponsor of the LBGP since 1980 and recently signed on for five more years. “They (the Grand Prix Association) asked for our opinion,” said Les Unger, Toyota’s national motorsports manager. “… We thought the fans would be very enthusiastic about it. But we didn’t force the Grand Prix Association of Long Beach to take Grand-Am. … There was never a quid pro quo.” Added Michaelian: “It was definitely our call.” center_img As first reported Tuesday, the principals came together on a conference call Wednesday to introduce Grand-Am. The Daytona Prototypes a class of exotic, full-bodied cars will run a 90-minute timed race the Saturday afternoon of race weekend, a day before the Champ Car World Series race. last_img read more