The Motorsports and Car Culture Committee hosted a Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach Tour for interested MPG Members FridayApril 13. Led by Edmund Jenks and Tom Stahler, the tour set out to expose the famed event to those who might not cover it on their regular beat.
The gathering included an infrastructure tour of the massive international pressroom where the group learned how the iconic race communicates with the world on a number of media platforms. From there, the group headed to the paddocks of IndyCar, IMSA, Pirelli World Challenge and the Vintage Trans-Am Series. Along the way, impromptu meet and greets with such personalities as Drew Alcazar, President of Russo and Steele Auctions; Courtney Crone, a fast up-and-coming local racer who just made the switch from sprint cars to open-wheel racing; Trans-Am Champ Tommy Kendall; and Cris Vandagriff, head of the Monterey Rolex reunion and Historic Motor Sports Association president.
After watching the Historic Trans-Am cars on exhibition laps, the group was invited to lunch and a Crown Royal Press Conference for the Veterans “Wall of Gratitude” at the Andretti Autosport hospitality compound. Mario, Michael, Marco — and eventual 2018 TGPLP race winner Alexander Rossi — were all on hand for the press conference and lunch.
For the largely non-motorsport writers who joined the tour, most seemed very inspired by the event and the variety of activity that makes the Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach such a gem in California car culture. Look for future opportunities and events from the Motorsports and Car Culture Committee.