Next April 13-14, fans at the Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach will get a look at the American pony car power that defined the golden age of Trans-Am racing when the historic machines race for the first time on the world-famous seaside city street circuit in the Historic Trans-Am Challenge. The 20-minute race, sanctioned by the Historic Motor Sports Association (HMSA), will run Saturday, April 14, with practice and qualifying on Friday.
The cars that will run in the Historic Trans-Am Challenge will be from the series’ original era between 1966 and 1972. At that time, the series featured Ford Mustangs, Chevrolet Camaros, AMC Javelins, Pontiac Firebirds, Plymouth Barracudas, Dodge Challengers and more with a list of well-known drivers that included Parnelli Jones, A.J. Foyt, Jim Hall, Dan Gurney, Mark Donohue, George Follmer, Peter Revson and John Morton, among many others.
“It’s exciting,” said Jones of the Historic Trans-Am cars coming to Long Beach. “Back then, the competition was so keen, between the drivers, car manufacturers and even the tire manufacturers.” Jones would have been the 1970 Trans-Am champion had there been a drivers championship at that time.
“The invention of the ‘Pony Car’ with the introduction of the Ford Mustang in 1964, high performance marketing and the need to win on Sunday and sell on Monday all came together in the Trans-American Sedan Championship,” said HMSA president Cris Vandagriff. “There were more factory teams competing in Trans-Am than in NASCAR. Ford, Chevrolet, American Motors, Plymouth, Pontiac and Dodge all slugged it out on the track. Back in the late ’60s and early ’70s L.A. was the capitol of car culture in the U.S., what better place to showcase that era than the Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach with the Historic Trans-Am.”
“It will be great to introduce these fabulous racing machines to our fans on the streets of Long Beach for the first time,” said Jim Michaelian, president and CEO of the Grand Prix Association of Long Beach. “I’m sure it will be a memorable experience for everyone.”
Ticket sales will commence on October 23, with prices for the three-day event ranging from $33 for a Friday General Admission ticket to $147 for a three-day ticket that includes Saturday and Sunday reserved seating in grandstand upper levels. Pre-paid parking packages are also available, along with handicapped seating, Verizon IndyCar Series Paddock access passes, Super Photo tickets and an array of VIP Club packages. For more information please visit either www.gplb.com or www.hmsausa.com