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LONG BEACH GRAND PRIX / SPECIAL SECTION

Racing Around Town

April 15, 1999

Downtown Long Beach will be transformed into a 1.8 mile race track this weekend for the 25th running of the Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach. The reconfigured course runs adjacent to the new Aquarium of the Pacific and includes four new turns.

When: Friday through Sunday

* Friday: Practice and qualifying; 8 a.m.-6 p.m.

* Saturday: Practice and qualifying; 8 a.m.-6 p.m.; Celebrity race 2:15-3 p.m.

* Sunday: Warm ups and pre-race activities, 8 a.m.; race, 1-3 p.m.

Television: Live on ESPN

Course length: 1.85 miles with 11 turns

Top Drivers: Jimmy Vasser, Al Unser, Jr.; Michael Andretti, Paul Tracy, Dario Franchitti, Scott Pruett, Bryan Herta

TICKETS

GRAND PRIX TICKET OFFICE

In person: 430 East First St., Long Beach

Telephone orders: (562) 436-9953 or (800) 752-9524

Tickets must be picked up at Will Call window.

TICKETMASTER

In person: At all California TicketMaster outlets, including Robinson's-May, Tower Records/Video, Blockbuster Music, Ritmo Latino

Telephone orders: (714) 740-2000 or (213) 480-3232

Order online: http://www.ticketmaster.com

PRICES

Grandstands

Three-day pass: $105 upper, $70 lower

Saturday & Sunday two-day pass: $58 upper, $48 lower

General Admission

Three-day pass: $43

Friday/Saturday two-day pass: $26

Sunday only: $34

GENERAL INFORMATION

Telephone: (562) 981-2600

Web site: http://www.longbeachgp.com

PARKING

* Public lots: $10-$25 per day

Locations:

A: (Long Beach Plaza Mall) 3rd Street & Pine Avenue

B: 300 block of 3rd Street East

C & D: 300 block of Broadway Street East

E: Pacific Avenue and Ocean Boulevard

F: Pacific Avenue & 1st Street

G: (Long Beach Civic Center) 332 W. Broadway

* Private lots (downtown hotels and offices): Arrive early, rates vary

Note: Aquarium parking structure at 100 Aquarium Way is not available for public parking.

FAST FACTS

Construction time: 35 skilled workers working for nine weeks

* 14.5 tons of concrete blocks

* Three miles of fencing

* 1,800 concrete blocks, each 12 feet long and weighing 8,100 pounds create the perimeters

* 250 tire crash barriers with 64 tires per pallet, totaling 16,000 tires are used along the perimeter to cushion any accidents.

Seats: 21 grandstands provide seating for more than 63,000.

Television monitors: Eight, ranging in size from 11x14 feet to 20x30 feet, are situated around the circuit.

TRANSPORTATION

* Park & ride: Park for free at the Willow Street MTA Blue Line station. Take the train a short distance to downtown Long Beach. Get off at the 1st Street Station or the Pacific Transit Mall. Or take MTA Bus #5 or #60 west on Long Beach Blvd. to downtown Long Beach.

Train fare: $1.35 each way

Bus fare: 90 cents each way

Metropolitan Transit Authority: (213) 626-4455 or (800) 266-6883

Web site: http://www.mta.net

GARAGE ON WHEELS

Racing teams haul their cars in elaborate trailers that double as workshops. Two complete cars, spare engines, parts, tires hardware and office space are tucked inside. The trailer and its contents are worth around $3.5 million.

THE DRIVER

Helmet: Fiberglass or carbon fiber shell lined with foam and flame resistant padding; includes headphones, microphone and connection to emergency air supply.

Driving suit: Flame resistant cloth designed to provide protection for 12 seconds in temperatures up to 1,300 degrees.

Gloves: Flame-resistant cloth with leather palms.

Boots: Leather with high-grip rubber soles. Padded inside to protect against knocks in the cockpit. Exterior finished with flame-resistant cloth.

THE CAR

All entries are champ cars, an open-cockpit, open-wheel design similar to an Indy car. Basic specifications:

Length: 190-199 inches

Width: 77 3/4-78 1/2 inches

Weight: 1,550 pounds

Height: 32 inches maximum, excluding roll bar

Chassis: Composite honeycomb and/or carbon fiber

Wheelbase: Minimum 96 inches, most are 112-120 inches

Average top speed: 230 on speedways, 190 mph in road races

Horsepower: More than 800

Fuel consumption: 1.85 mpg

Fuel type: Methanol

Fuel capacity: 35 gallons

Graphics reporting by JANICE JONES DODDS / Los Angeles Times

Sources: Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach, City of Long Beach, Metropolitan Transit Authority, CART

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