2018 IndyCar round three: Long Beach

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    Round three of the IndyCar championship is at Long Beach on Sunday evening. Rookie Robert Wickens led both of the first two races – will he get his first win this time?

    The restyled cars look terrific around the street course in practice – video above. We’ll be following on RaceFans Live from 9pm on Sunday night.


    Really looking forward to this one. From what I’ve seen of practice the cars do indeed look great round Long Beach. Should be a cracker!

    George O’Donnell

    I was in Long Beach for the whole of last weekend and am back in the UK now. I took a lot of photos (which I’m sorting through now) and am keen on sharing my experiences, and the contrast to F1 races, with the forum.


    I’m jealous! Can’t wait to hear your thoughts…
    By total contrast to the streets of Long Beach, Barber Motorsports Park is up this evening. I remember looking at the track map for this some years back & thinking how boring it looked (straight, hairpin, straight, hairpin…). But, the reality of the track is just wow! Gradient, gradient, gradient!! The idea of a racetrack that goes ‘up hill and down dale’ is something sorely missing in a lot of modern facilities…

    George O’Donnell

    I went to the Indycar race in Long Beach this year. I took two weeks off work to travel over, but saw some other things and places in the US on my trip. But the primary reason for travel was to attend this iconic race and see my favourite Indycars in action! This was my third trip to the US to see Indycars; previously I had been to the inaugural double header races in Detroit in 2013; and to the Indy 500 and GP in 2016 (100th running).

    Some photos are saved here, but I’d also encourage you to read on about my experience!

    I stayed in a hotel about a mile from the track. The LA area has a really good Metro/tram system so I took a 5/10 minute ride to downtown Long Beach to get to the event. There were plenty of people staying within walking distance to the track but I didn’t book my trip early enough to get a close enough hotel at a decent enough price. There were a lot of restaurants and bars downtown, and we saw drivers and crew eating there in the evening. On race day I walked into the track at the same time as Charlie Kimball who must have been staying at a nearby hotel.

    No other top level circuit racing series compares to Indycar in term of fan access. For $290 I was able to buy a ‘Superphoto’ ticket, which gave me access to 4 special stands just for amateur photographers to take pictures, and also served as a pit credential for the weekend for all practice and qualifying sessions. The most expensive spectator ticket was $147 for 3 days – an absolute bargain compared to F1 prices!

    Over the 3 days the bill included Indycar, IMSA (the top tier of sportcar racing in the USA), PWC (another sportscar championship), historic Trans-Am racing, Stadium Super Trucks (going around the circuit but with additional jumps installed – these were massively popular with the casual fans) and Formula Drift (cars would race two-by-two around the hairpin area, drifting and burning rubber). The track action lasted for about 12 hours on Friday and Saturday (8am-8pm) and there was a lot to see on Sunday too. There were a lot of food trailers and all with decent prices (except for beer – very expensive!). The track runs around the Long Beach Convention Center, and this housed a lot of car related stalls promoting their services, but also non-related local businesses were there too. The variety of things to see any do was exceptional and catered for all levels of fan – those who have no/limited interest, rookies, and passionate fans.

    The thing that struck me was that the crowd was very different to a F1 crowd. I’ve been to a few races (including Monaco and Italy last year) and typically there’s a lot of passionate and knowledgeable fans – that’s not a surprise given the extortionate ticket prices. However there never seem to be many ‘local’ people, i.e. people from nearby towns or neighbourhoods. For example take the Italian Grand Prix – most of the fans are not from Monza, Milan, or even Lombardia (the region) – they are fans from all over Italy, and a lot of fans from other parts of the world. The Long Beach demographic was very different and I think that’s twofold – firstly it’s much more affordable than an F1 race which means more local people attend, and secondly the entertainment is so diverse that the event can attract singles, couples, friends and families. I spoke to quite a few people (all very friendly) and many of them weren’t particularly interested in racing, but they came along to Long Beach year after year because it’s a great event and they are entertained. Of course, there were a lot of Indycar fans too – it’s a close knit and passionate fanbase! For many Indycar fans, Long Beach is a bucket list item which you have to go to at least once during your life!

    The drivers are so friendly and approachable. I had printed out some photos from my trip to Indianapolis in 2016 so that I could get them signed by the drivers. When I mentioned to Scott Dixon that I wasn’t living in the USA, we chatted a bit about living in the UK because he has family here (his wife is British). A family were waiting in line before me in the queue to see the Team Penske drivers; they had children and every year they had taken photos with Josef Newgarden – it was really funny to see the kids grow up, as it was to see Josef look older! I saw Ed Jones after the race, congratulated him on his third place, and then we ended up chatting about Chicago (where I had been the previous weekend) and how they turn the river green on St Patrick’s Day!

    I took a lot of photos! I’ve whittled it down to 120 of the best Indycar photos – excluding the other racing series except for some cool Stadium Super Trucks photos. The album is here:


    I ended up watching P1 from pitlane/hairpin, P2 from turn 1 area, P3 from turn 7, qualifying in pit lane, and the race from the hairpin. The only slight negative part of viewing the race from the hairpin is that I couldn’t hear the circuit announcer, however being able to see pit in and being a die-hard fan, I was able to read the race pretty well and there weren’t many surprises when I read the news reports once I got back to the hotel.

    I’m not 100% sure how to embed photos. My favourite one is Jordan King unlapping himself on James Hinchcliffe, but you can just see Sebastien Bourdais’ rear wing has been clipped as he starts to spin.

    Some photos from the fountain look great too. I took a photo of almost every driver there.
    LongBeach18_0696 (1)

    Hope people find this interesting and like the photos. I’m happy to answer any questions people might have about travelling to an Indycar race from abroad, and I’d really encourage people to make a trip if it is possible. It’s phenomenal racing with fantastic events and a superb atmosphere. I love Indycar and can’t wait for the 500 this month!

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