2005 Long Beach Grand Prix – Turn 10 – Showing the Long Beach Skyline, Champ Car World Series. Photo via CCWSF1 at the English language Wikipedia [GFDL ( or CC-BY-SA-3.0 (], via Wikimedia Commons

The three-day Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach begins Friday with qualifying for the pro/celebrity and TUDOR United SportsCar Championship races and the KMC Wheels Super Drift Challenge.

Friday’s activities also include practice for the featured IndyCar Series race at 12:30 p.m. and 3:45 p.m., the Indy Lights race at 1:30 p.m., and an all- driver autograph session by the IndyCar Series drivers at 2 p.m.

The pro/celebrity qualifying is set to begin at 3 p.m. The field includes actors Alfonso Ribeiro, the 1994 and 1995 champion; Tricia Helfer, Nathan Kress, James Maslow, Raul Mendez, Joshua Morrow, Robert Patrick and Mekhi Phifer; Sugar Ray lead singer Mark McGrath; Olympic gold medal-winning swimmer Dara Torres, who in 2002 became the first woman celebrity to win the race; and KSPN-AM (710) host Steve Mason.

They will drive race-prepared Scion FR-S cars on the 1.97-mile, 11-turn street circuit surrounding the Long Beach Convention Center.

Qualifying for the Super Drift Challenge is set to begin at 7:45 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 drifting competition rounds will begin at 7 p.m. Saturday.

The pro/celebrity and TUDOR United SportsCar Championship races races will be held Saturday, along with qualifying for the IndyCar Series and Indy Lights races, and a concert by Motley Crue lead singer Vince Neil.

The IndyCar Series, Indy Lights, SPEED Energy Off-Road and Pirelli World Challenge races will be held Sunday.   Organizers expect more than 180,000 spectators over the three days, including more than 80,000 on Sunday.

—City News Service

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