By: Spencer Neff
February 5, 2019 | 3:27 PM
The longest-running street course race on the NTT IndyCar Series calendar announced a new title sponsor.
American Honda Motor Company, from nearby Torrance, California is now the sponsor for the Grand Prix of Long Beach. The company’s Acura brand (founded in 1986 as the first Japanese luxury car brand) will hold official naming rights.
With the announcement, Acura replaces Toyota. Toyota had served as sponsor of the race since its first running in 1984.
Additionally, Toyota sponsored the Formula 1 race held on the street course from 1980 to 1983. They also provided the pace car for the first event in 1975 (Formula 5000).
“This is truly the start of a new era in the history of the Grand Prix,” said Jim Michaelian, president and CEO of the Grand Prix Association of Long Beach in Tuesday’s press release.
“As we enter our 45thyear of conducting America’s #1 street race, we are looking forward with great enthusiasm to this new partnership with a premium luxury brand like Acura. Together we will explore new ways to elevate the Acura Grand Prix of Long Beach to greater heights in the coming years.”
The race gives Honda title sponsorship at four NTT IndyCar Series events on the 2019 calendar. The other three races (Barber Motorsports Park, Streets of Toronto and Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course) are sponsored by the Honda brand.
American Honda will have a presence not only in sponsorship but also on the track that weekend.
Honda Performance Development (an American Honda subsidiary) will supply engines for 15 cars scheduled to race in the 85-lap event.
The Santa Clarita, California-based company has supplied engines for at least one car in the race for 19 of the last 25 runnings. This includes being the sole engine provider from 2009 to 2011. Honda is seeking their 14th win in the event.
“With our U.S. headquarters nearby in Torrance, this is a true ‘home’ event for the Acura brand,” Jon Ikeda, Acura vice president and general manager said in Tuesday’s announcement.
“The Grand Prix of Long Beach is one of North America’s premier motorsports events, and an institution in Southern California. Acura is delighted and proud to be associated with the Grand Prix of Long Beach, and we look forward to a long and successful partnership.”
Acura and HPD will also have a presence in IMSA’s BUBBA Burger Sports Car Grand Prix at Long Beach. The 1-hour, 40-minute race is scheduled for April 13.
Team Penske runs two Acuras in their Daytona Prototype (DPi) class. Juan Pablo Montoya and Helio Castroneves, winners of the 1999 and 2001 CART races at Long Beach, race for Acura Team Penske.
The 2019 Acura Grand Prix of Long Beach take place on April 12-14. It is the fourth race of 17 on the schedule.
The 2019 Acura Grand Prix of Long Beach will also feature the Motegi Racing Super Drift Challenge under the lights on Friday and Saturday nights, Stadium SUPER Trucks, Pirelli GT4 America series and the Historic IMSA GTO Challenge.
Fans can order tickets and receive more information at gplb.com or call 888) 827-7333.
A printed ticket brochure that includes a circuit map, ticket prices, order form and other information is also available.
Header Image By Chris Owens/INDYCAR Media