Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Long Beach Grand Prix Alive and Well

From my observations I would have to say the LBGP is very much alive and well. As I walked about Sunday the crowd seemed much bigger than any time in the last 4 years. Getting around required some patience because of the number of people. The stands, for the Champ Car race, I estimate were about 90-95% filled.

All of this bodes well for Champ Car, the owners of the LBGP, especially considering that they have to take in at least what they would normally receive as a sanctioning fee a before making any profit.

I wonder how the sanctioning fee’s are paid for the other series that are at the event. The Speed GT and ALMS.

The number of vendors and exhibits was up from years past. There was little doubt that the practice of charging the vendors handsomely for the right to do business at the event was I full force when I paid $10.00 for the burger and fries I had for lunch.

Another indication that the event is growing was the price of parking. Four yeas ago the little out of the way spot where I parked was 5.00 for the event…….and not far from the gate either. Last year it was $10.00, this year it was $20.00. I drove past when I saw that wondering where to park and found a garage on the next corner for $15.00 and it was even closer to the gate! I’ll bet you that next year that garage will be $20.00!

The Minardi two seaters were popular even with their $10,000 per ride price tag. Some how though I have trouble reconciling having F1 ride at the champ car event. No doubt there’s some politics involved.

As for the main event, looks like Newman Hass Lannigan have worked out their issues with the car. Bourdais easily had the rest of the field covered. So much so that the only thing I watched for was who was going to pass who on the restarts.

As for the state of the series, it’s still a head scratcher. All of the entries except Katherine Legge had side pod sponsorship. Still better than last year if it’s true the subsidy spigot is turned off, something I don’t necessarily believe given that Legge is driving for Coyne and Forsythe is selling rides.

I believe that the grid will have to grow, even if only one car, before the end of this season if the health of the series is to improve for the 08 season.

We badly need 20 starters with solid sponsorship for 08.

Watch for more big changes!


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