Construction began earlier this week on the 11-turn, 1.97-mile circuit that will make up the 39th Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach.
The race weekend is scheduled for April 19-21 and though it continues to feature the Izod IndyCar Series on as the main attraction on Sunday and the Tequila Patron American Le Mean Series and Toyota Pro/Celebrity races on Saturday, there will be a few fresh twists.
For the first time, there will be night racing. The Motegi Racing Super Drift Challenge will practice and qualify on Friday night and race on Saturday night. In the past, drifting has been an exhibition but this year lit will be part of the racing series.
Former open wheel and NASCAR driver Robby Gordon will bring his Robby Gordon Stadium Super Trucks series to the grand prix; there will be a 20-minute exhibition race on Sunday, the only time the 600hp trucks will race on asphalt in 2013.
"This should make for one of the most entertaining weekends in our history," said Jim Michaelian, the president and CEO of the Grand Prix Association of Long Beach.
Other races include the Firestone Indy Lights on Sunday morning, as well as the Pirelli World Challenge late Sunday afternoon.
Actual construction of the track began on Monday with the setting of the first of more than 14 million pounds of concrete blocks that line the track. According to the Grand Prix Association, more than 30,000 working hours will be installing the K-rails, three miles of fencing, 16 spectator grandstands and seven pedestrian bridges.
At the press conference Tuesday for the kickoff were Michaelian, Mayor Bob Foster, Formula Drift President and co-founder Jim Liaw and Papadakis Racing owner Stephan Papadakis.
Tickets can be ordered at 888-82 SPEED (888-827-7333). Ticket information can be found here.