Sunny Southern California is home to one of the most consistent and stable climates. This Mediterranean climate is an ideal one for people to come out of their homes and enjoy everything that life has to offer. If you’ve ever been to the South or even the East Coast, you know that humidity and that ever fluctuating climate really can make things difficult. Sure, one thing is to live there, but, it’s much more that that. When it comes to cars, they definitely love that dry air. No humidity or extreme temperatures really brings out the best in cars. One of those times happens along the shores of Downtown Long Beach, and it is an experience that is hard to forget. Every April the streets of Long Beach close down and all normality ceases to exist. What you think you know about Long Beach is totally flipped on its head, and becomes a playground for cars. Cars that can now show themselves in their true form.
Wall barriers line the streets along Shoreline and manholes are welded shut. Banners are put up on walkways and the smell of fried foods and sea breeze float in the wind. Then, the most curious thing happens. For several weeks in a row, a sound fills the air. A sound that is so intense, so powerful, that the orcas in the ocean shriek in terror and delight. What is this sound? What is this thing that makes men and women smile in delight, yet somehow shakes the very ground that it lies on? This event horizon comes around corners at over 150mph is one of many high powered Indy cars that call Long Beach home. These turbocharged beasts shriek like Valkyries coming to destroy their victims, but with a beautiful rhythm that is entrancing. For three weeks in April, the controlled explosions of the internal combustion engine are harnessed and forced to put on a display of power that is oh so gratifying. When that rubber hits the road, no road is safe.
The Long Beach Grand Prix comes along in a way that is not very subtle. Residents are treated to a ballet of rubber and gasoline on a daily basis. This poetry in motion translates to one of the most spectacular events for residents of Southern California (and race fans in general). From Indy Cars to factory -prepped GT-Cars, the weekend of the actual race is an experience that every citizen should experience. With fanfare, cars pulse along the streets in an almost deafening howl, and the wind around you seems to be sucked out of your lungs. No matter what your walk of life is, if you enjoy cars and excitement, you cannot find any more than that race weekend. Those experiences are some that are sure to be enjoyed, and should be enjoyed by all. After all, how often do you see a 700-hp beast running around the streets of Long Beach at over 200mph without a train of police officers in hot pursuit? In SoCal, this is about as rare as a three legged purple unicorn. But, for those few days in April, we all get to see that, and we cannot wait for the next one.
Words and Photos by Daniel Navarrete