The term "grand prix" gets thrown around a lot. It typically applies to Formula One, but Indy uses it too (as does MotoGP and Formula Three). The difference (in nomenclature, anyway) is typically that while an F1 grand prix uses the host country's name, an Indy street race uses the specific location's name. Take Long Beach, for example.
Toyota Grand Prix Of Long Beach
Toyota has been hosting its Pro/Celebrity race at the Toyota Grand Prix on Long Beach since 1977. The charity event, which has raised millions of dollars over the years, traditionally pits Hollywood celebrities against professional athletes (including race car drivers) on the full Grand Prix course in modified street vehicles. The short, sprint-style race is popular with the crowds as the amateur drivers race uninhibited – the result is an action-packed event with plenty of excitement and
Toyota has announced that the rear-wheel-drive Scion FR-S will replace the front-wheel-drive Scion tC as the racecar used by actors, singers and celebrities of all grades in its annual Toyota Pro/Celebrity Race. It's the first time a rear-drive vehicle has been used for the event in 27 years, with the tC having been in use since 2005, and the FWD Celica before that. This year's race takes place on April 20th amidst the festivities of the Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach weekend.
2010 Toyo Tires World Challenge at Long Beach – Click above for high-res image gallery
2010 Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach Grid Girls – Click above for high-res image gallery
2010 Long Beach Toyota Pro/Celebrity Race – Click above for high-res image gallery
2010 Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach – Click above for huge high-res image gallery
If you're desperate to bet on these things, a Vegas pro has laid out the odds for the Toyota Pro/Celebrity Race that takes place before the Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach in two week's time. In the number one spot, at 11-1, sits Adam Carolla, which gives him the same odds as pro Marty Nothstein and ahead of the odds smacked down on celebrity-cast-as-pro Keanu Reeves, who's at 12-1.
Actor Patrick Dempsey is no stranger to racetracks, nor to the pages of Autoblog. We've run into the Gray's Anatomy star at various races and automotive events over the past few years, most recently piloting a '90s Mazda RX-792 LeMans racer in the Historics at Laguna Seca. We've even seen him run at Long Beach, although that was in their annual Toyota Pro/Celebrity race that usually features as many crashes and spins as a roller-derby match.
It's not that we've ever made a point to sit down and watch the Toyota Pro/Celebrity race. It's just that every few years we flip on the television and there it is, and then we have to watch as celebrities, pro athletes and some professional drivers make mince meat of whatever Toyota model is that year's race car. It's the Scion tC once again this year, and the list of celebs who will be crashing into one another has been released (check out the full list after the jump). We use the term "celeb"