Toyota Motor Sales, U.S.A. Inc. and the Southern California Toyota Dealers Association (TDA) recently inked a multi-year deal to remain on as the title sponsor of the Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach. The deal is a continuation of Toyota’s historic 41-year relationship with the Grand Prix Association of Long Beach.


“From the Grand Prix Association’s perspective, this is one of the most unique relationships that our company has, both in terms of longevity and also in terms of the activation that has taken place around the sponsorship agreement,” Grand Prix Association President and CEO Jim Michaelian told the Business Journal. “We are delighted that we will be able to continue on with this relationship in the future, especially taking into consideration the number of years that our two companies have been involved here at the event in Long Beach.”


Toyota has been the title sponsor of the famed street race since 1980, but its involvement began in 1975 when it came on as the event’s official pace car. It has sponsored the Toyota Pro/Celebrity Race, a fan favorite at the Grand Prix, since 1977. According to the Grand Prix Association, Toyota has donated more than $2 million to local children’s hospitals since starting the celebrity race.


“On a personal basis, I have been here from the beginning and to me it is really remarkable how many different executive changes have occurred over these last 41 years, yet Toyota as a company and the Southern California TDA have seen the value in continuing this relationship all these years,” Michaelian reflected.


Toyota’s title sponsorship “has been one of the crucial factors in terms of determining our success,” Michaelian said. “For our event to be aligned with a major international company of the stature of Toyota certainly has been very beneficial to us in a number of ways, not only in terms of attracting other sponsors to the event, but also in terms of what they have contributed to make the event the success that it is.”


Earlier this year, a USA Today poll had the Long Beach race in the Top 10 among motorsports events in the world, with the Baja 1000 ranked #1 and the Indy 500 as #2.


The Grand Prix Association is currently putting together the schedule for the 2016 Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach, which will be held April 15-17. “We continue to expand on what we have to offer as far as, not only the weekend event itself is concerned, but also what takes place in the pre-event stages,” Michaelian said.


“Long Beach is a tremendous venue in which to host these kinds of events,” Michaelian said. “We’re looking forward to continuing to add to the attractiveness of the event next year and in the years to come.”