March 27 in Motorsports History: F1’s last race at Long Beach

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Long Beach is regarded by fans and drivers alike as among the world’s most well-established street circuits.

The tight and windy course is the oldest annual event of its kind in the United States and plays host to the second biggest race on the IndyCar calendar.

But before America’s top open-wheel circuit raced in Long Beach, the event was part of the Formula One calendar.

Conceived and promoted by former travel agent Chris Pook, the first edition of the Grand Prix was a Formula 5000 race won by Brian Redman in 1975.

Formula One cars made their debut on the popular street circuit the following year, and for the next eight seasons, some of F1’s greatest drivers won the event.

Mario Andretti was Long Beach’s lone American winner during its status as a round of the World Championship, taking the checkers in 1977. Nelson Piquet won in 1980, and Nikki Lauda won in 1982.

While the race was one of the most popular events on the F1 schedule and brought global exposure to the region, it was not a financially sound venture. By 1983, Pook was in discussions with the new CART series to replace F1 with IndyCar racing, an announcement that was made following that year’s race.

Luckily for Southern Califonia F1 fans, Long Beach’s last event on the schedule was a wild one.

Ferrari teammates Patrick Tambay and Rene Arnoux started on the front row, followed by the two Williams entries of Keke Rosberg and Jacques Laffite.

All four drivers battled fiercely during the first third of the race. On Lap 25 Rosberg attempted to pass Tambay in the hairpin. However, Tambay attempted to shut the door, causing both to make contact and retire from the race. Laffite then took control of the lead.

John Watson,Niki Lauda, Rene Arnoux stand on the podium following the 1983 Grand Prix of Long Beach. (Photo by Bernard Cahier/Getty Images)

Meanwhile, the two McLarens of John Watson and Niki Lauda were making their way through the field. Watson and Lauda qualified 22nd and 23rd, respectfully and initially weren’t considered serious contenders.

By Lap 45, both McLarens were right behind Tambay. With the Ferrari driver on wearing tires, Watson and Lauda both were able to pass, and remained in 1-2 through to the checkered flag. The victory was the fifth and final for Watson, who would retire from F1 two years later.

As expected, Long Beach did become a CART event the following season, with Mario Andretti winning the first event under the new sanctioning body.

The race since has become a local tradition for the coastal community, and though it was canceled this year because of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, it will return again next season and likely will remain one of motorsports’ premier events for years to come.

Also on this date:

1971: David Coulthard was born in Twynholm, Scotland. Between 1994 and 2008, Coulthard won 13 times in Formula One.

1977: Johnny Rutherford won the Jimmy Bryan 150 at Phoenix International Raceway, the second round of the 14-race USAC Champ Car Series season. Mario Andretti shockingly failed to qualify for the race.

2011: Dario Franchitti won the Honda Grand Prix of St. Petersburg, the 2011 IndyCar season opener. Franchitti won three more races later in the year en route to his fourth and final championship

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IMSA Petit Le Mans at Road Atlanta: How to watch, start times, schedule, entry list

AUTO: NOV 13 IMSA - Motul Petit Le Mans
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Start times, TV schedule: The IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship will conclude the 2022 season this weekend with the Motul Petit Le Mans at Michelin Road Atlanta, which also will mark the end of the line for the DPi class.

The premier Daytona Prototype international category, which started in 2017, will be replaced by the new Grand Touring Prototype (GTP) class with its LMDh cars that will establish a bridge to Le Mans.

For the third time in four years, an Acura will be crowned the champion in DPi as the No. 10 of Wayne Taylor Racing holds a 19-point edge over the No. 60 of Meyer Shank Racing.

Last year, WTR’s No. 10 entered the season finale with a 19-point lead but lost the title to the No. 31 Cadillac of Action Express.

Full-time WTR drivers Filipe Albuquerque and Ricky Taylor (who will be joined by Brendon Hartley in the No. 10 this weekend) have a series-leading four victories this season. The MSR duo of Tom Blomqvist and Oliver Jarvis (who will be joined by Helio Castroneves this weekend) won the Rolex 24 at Daytona and have five runner-up finishes this year.

Championship scenarios in the other four categories:

GTD Pro: Points leaders Matt Campbell and Mathieu Jaminet will clinch the title by starting in their No. 9 Pfaff Motorsports Porsche 911 GT3 R.

–GTD: There are 140 points separating the top four teams with Roman De Angelis and the No. 27 Heart of Racing Aston Martin Vantage GT3 leading by 45 points.

–LMP2: John Farano is first in the driver standings by 33 points over Dwight Merriman and Ryan Dalziel. In the team standings, the No. 52 PR1 Mathiasen Motorsports leads by 19 points over the No. 8 Tower Motorsport (Farano’s team).

–LMP3: No. 54 CORE autosport drivers Jon Bennett and Colin Braun lead by 83 points over the No. 74 Riley Motorsports of Gar Robinson.

Here are the start times, starting lineup, schedule and TV info for the IMSA Petit Le Mans at Road Atlanta (all times are ET):


Petit Le Mans at Road Atlanta start times, schedule, TV info

When: Saturday, 12:10 p.m. ET

Race distance: Ten hours on the 12-turn, 2.54-mile road course

TV: Noon-3 p.m., NBC; 3-10:30 p.m., USA Network. Peacock, the NBC Sports App,and NBCSports.com will have streaming coverage of the event from flag to flag beginning at noon. Leigh Diffey and Dave Burns are the play by play announcers with analysts Calvin Fish, Townsend Bell, James Hinchcliffe and Brian Till. The pit reporters are Kevin Lee, Hannah Newhouse, Dillon Welch and Matt Yocum.

IMSA.com live TV qualifying stream: Friday, 3:35 p.m. ET.

IMSA Radio: All sessions are live on IMSA.com and RadioLeMans.com; SiriusXM live race coverage will begin Saturday at noon (XM 207, Internet/App 992).

Forecast: According to Wunderground.com, it’s expected to be 63 degrees with an 85% chance of rain at the green flag.

Entry list: Click here to see the 48-car field for the IMSA Petit Le Mans at Road Atlanta


Daily schedule IMSA Petit Le Mans

Here’s a rundown of the Petit Le Mans at Michelin Road Atlanta in Braselton, Georgia:

Wednesday, Sept. 28

9:30 a.m.: Mazda MX-5 practice

10:25 a.m.: Porsche Carrera Cup

12:30 p.m.: Prototype Challenge practice

1:15 p.m.: Mazda MX-5 practcice

2 p.m.: Porsche Carrera Cup practice

3:30 p.m.: Michelin Challenge practice

Thursday, Sept. 29

8 a.m.: Prototype Challenge practice

9 a.m.: Porsche Carrera Cup qualifying

9:50 a.m.: IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship practice

11:40 a.m.: Prototype Challenge qualifying

12:10 p.m.: Michelin Challenge practice

1:50 p.m.: Mazda MX-5, Race 1

2:55 p.m.: IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship practice

5 p.m.: Porsche Carrera Cup, Race 1

6 p.m.: Michelin Challenge qualifying

7:30 p.m.: IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship practice

Friday, Sept. 30

8 a.m.: Prototype Challenge race

9:50 a.m.: Mazda MX-5, Race 2

10:55 a.m.: Porsche Carrera Cup, Race 2

1:10 p.m.: IMSA Michelin Pilot Challenge race

3:40 p.m.: IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship qualifying

Saturday, Oct. 1

9:15 a.m.: IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship practice

12:10 p.m.: Petit Le Mans