The great thing about a weekend of racing action in Long Beach is that there is so much to see and do besides the already thrilling track action and automotive displays. Vendor alleys, 'extreme sports' demonstrations, free concerts, '50s-style Mexican wrestling with a little extra vavoom thrown in...they all add to the payout on your already value-packed ticket purchase. That last one, though, is something new for the GPLB, via something old.
Dubbed Lucha VaVoom, it's a fairly new show that recalls the burlesque shows and masked wrestling matches of the '50s and '60s, but adds a few modern twists, along with a bunch of comedy and some daredevil antics to keep everyone happy and alert. Why do we bring this up when we're supposed to be covering an auto race? Because there's always more to the scene than just the racecars. Being at an event like the Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach is an experience. Anyone can watch a race on their LCD screen, but actually being at the track, hearing, smelling, tasting and feeling the cars is a whole 'nother ball of wax.
A race event can be like having the circus in town. In fact, a whole little city sprouts up for these types of events, with restaurants, hair salons, recruiting centers, auto dealers, chapels, hospitals and entertainment spots galore. Participating in a race weekend is something all auto enthusiasts should do at least once in their lives, if not once a year or more. Long Beach in particular is such a great event because of its proximity to Hollywood, the Pacific Ocean and downtown Long Beach. And if you should ever think that attending a race is just a guy thing, know that there are plenty of families there as well, and plenty of ladies too, giving us all hope that the future of the hobby is in good hands.
This past weekend we were so pleased to find so many young women, in particular, at the track, that we couldn't help but take some pictures of all their smiling faces to prove our point. Take a look at the gallery below and you'll understand why we love Long Beach, and why it's been referred to as America's Monaco.