Grand Prix of Long Beach Thunder Thursday Moves To Pike Outlets

Thunder Thursday, the festival that starts the Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach, has a new home in 2017. Get the details on this year’s free event here.

There’s another change for this year’s Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach. Thunder Thursday, the public get-together that officially starts race weekend, has a new home as it relocates to the Pike Outlets shopping center.

Event organizers made the announcement on Monday, citing more space for the event’s many demonstrations.

“The new location for Thunder Thursday will provide a much better opportunity for everyone to come out and enjoy the festivities at The Pike Outlets,” said Grand Prix Association president Jim Michaelian. “More room, more activities and more exhibits means more fun for everyone.”

The 2017 edition of Thunder Thursday is scheduled to include the yearly Verizon IndyCar Series pit stop competition, in which race teams go head-to-head in order to see who can complete a full pit stop in the least amount of time.

Some of the drivers participating in race weekend will appear for an autograph session, though the GPA has not announced who those drivers will be. They could be from IndyCar or any of the series competing, such as the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship or Stadium Super Trucks.

The year’s Miss Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach winners will be announced, and Tony Carbajal will present motorcycle stunts.

Aside from the various presentations The Pike Outlets will host a DJ, a beer garden and a show of exotic and classic cars on nearby Bay Street.

Thunder Thursday will take place on Thursday, April 6 and is free to the public; a specific schedule hasn’t been announced yet. But courtesy of Stuntride, here’s video of Carbajal in action from the 2010 event:

Moving the event to Pike Outlets would seem to be a win-win. The streets of Long Beach can get crowded on Thursday especially during the pit stop competition, so more room for fans to see the action is the obvious plus.

The outlets are also equipped to handle large numbers of people, by virtue of being a retail establishment. There will be convenient facilities – and of course, convenient shopping and exposure for Pike Outlets themselves.

The Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach is undergoing a bit of a shift this season. That’s largely due to the fact that Toyota decided to end the popular Toyota Pro/Celebrity Race, since they have moved their corporate headquarters from California to Texas. The TPCR has been replaced with a Can-Am Challenge event.

Organizers have also booked a new musical headliner. It was announced last week that rock supergroup Kings of Chaos will headline the “Rock-N-Roar” concert that takes place on Saturday.

The Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach takes place April 7-9 on the streets of Long Beach. For more upcoming events in the Los Angeles area, visit the Los Angeles section of Local POV here.

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