Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach underway

- The three-day 43rd annual Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach begins Friday with qualifying for IMSA sports car and new Can-Am races, the start of the drifting competition and practice for three other races.

A concert by the Mexican cover band Moderatto will begin at 6:45 p.m.

Practice sessions for Sunday's featured IndyCar race will be held from 10-10:45 a.m. and 2-2:45 p.m. An autograph session for IndyCar drivers will be held from 4-5 p.m. in the paddock area.

Qualifying for Saturday's Can-Am Challenge race will be held from 3-3:20p.m. Can-Am, shorthand for the Canadian-American Challenge Cup, was a racing series that ran at tracks in Canada and the U.S. from 1966-74 and 1977-87.

The race on the 1.97-mile, 11-turn street circuit surrounding the Long Beach Convention Center will feature the 1,000-plus horsepower cars from the 1966-74 era. "These cars were the fastest racing cars of their day and still make the earth move when they take to the track," said Cris Vandagriff, president of the Historic Motor Sports Association, which is sanctioning the race.

Said Jim Michaelian, president and CEO of the Grand Prix Association of Long Beach: "This will be the very first time that these exotic racing machines have competed on any street circuit. The sounds of these high-powered
engines racing down Shoreline Drive will be exhilarating."

Qualifying for the IMSA sports car race will be held from 4:45-6:15 p.m. The initial part of the drifting competition will be held from 6:45-8:45 p.m. In drifting, drivers intentionally maneuver their cars into controlled sideways slides at high speeds through a marked course, with a judging panel determining the winner based on execution and style.

The final portion will be held from 6-8 p.m. Saturday.

Practice sessions for the truck race will be held from 12:20-12:40 p.m. and another sports car race from 3:30-4 p.m.

Saturday's schedule features qualifying for the IndyCar race and a concert by the all-star band Kings of Chaos, starring Billy Idol, Billy Gibbons of ZZ Top and Chester Bennington of Linkin Park.

The Toyota Pro/Celebrity Race has been dropped from the Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach. Grand Prix officials announced in March 2016 they discontinued the event with last year's race.

Toyota officials said they could no longer provide the support needed for the race because of the company's moving of its North American headquarters from Torrance to Plano, Texas. Toyota is continuing as the event's title sponsor.

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