Next April 18-19, Acura Grand Prix of Long Beach fans will get a double dose of nostalgia when the Historic Formula Atlantic Challenge, featuring open-wheel racecars from the 1970s and 1980s, lights up the track for a doubleheader weekend.
The twin, 20-minute races will run Saturday, April 18 along with the IMSA WeatherTech Championship race and Sunday, April 19, the same day as the NTT IndyCar Series race, with practice and qualifying on Friday.
The Formula Atlantic series ran at Long Beach from 1978-’82 and 1989-2008 as one of the premier “feeder” series to top-level open-wheel racing. Drivers such as Bobby Rahal, Michael Andretti, Willy T. Ribbs, Danny Sullivan, Al Unser Jr., Jimmy Vasser and Jacques Villeneuve all raced at Long Beach as they worked their way up through the Formula Atlantic ranks. Two former Formula Atlantic drivers, Keke Rosberg and Villeneuve, became Formula One World Champions, while 1979 Long Beach Grand Prix winner Gilles Villeneuve was also a Formula Atlantic graduate. Several other Atlantic drivers were Indy Car champions over the years. The Rosberg, Villeneuve and Rahal cars – along with many others – are expected to be in the race field at Long Beach.
The historic event at Long Beach will be sanctioned by the Historic Motor Sports Association (HMSA).
“Hosting the historic Formula Atlantic cars are a natural at Long Beach,” said Cris Vandagriff, president of the HMSA. “Many of the ‘movers and shakers’ in IndyCar today got their start in Formula Atlantic. It will be so exciting to see these cars on the Streets of Long Beach again and have many of the former drivers attend the Formula Atlantic autograph session. All the cars will be authentic in every detail including the livery they ran in-period.”
“We are excited to be able to showcase these vintage Atlantic cars to our fans in a doubleheader format,” said Jim Michaelian, president and CEO of the Grand Prix Association of Long Beach. “This will give our fans more on-track action and that added race will be a big part of an enhanced Sunday schedule that we are putting together for the 2020 Acura Grand Prix.”