In less than a month, the Long Beach City Council may decide which of two proposals to accept for the annual Long Beach Grand Prix race: IndyCar or Formula One. In our recent, in-depth interviews with the key players in this drama, one urged officials to go with the “highest and best use for the city.” The other stressed his organization’s long, successful track record with the event: “We are a known quantity and a community asset – we deliver.”
The Long Beach Business Journal is a strong supporter of the Grand Prix Association of Long Beach. President/CEO Jim Michaelian and his staff have served the city, the community and the residents well over the decades. And by the way, they put on a darn good street race with their IndyCar friends. It’s an affordable, fun weekend for all ages.
Concurrently, there is a tantalizing opportunity being waved in front of city staff and elected officials by Chris Pook, who created the race in the mid 1970s. Returning Formula One to Long Beach after more than 30 years kinda gets the heart racing and the creative juices flowing.
Our question to Jim, Chris and the city’s decision makers is – why not do both? Let’s run the races on back-to-back weekends.
After everyone has a good chuckle at this and recommends a visit to a shrink, why not explore the possibilities? Just because it hasn’t been done doesn’t mean it can’t be done.
We recommend the city establish a task force that would include Jim Michaelian and Chris Pook, the owners of F1 and IndyCar, auto racing professionals, track experts, etc. Give them 90 days to determine if it’s feasible.
The upside for Long Beach is huge. For about 12 straight days, the air would rumble, the streets would shake, and the city would be the epicenter of the auto racing world.