Hooniverse Asks: Should Acura revive the Long Beach GP celebrity race?

For a hell of a long time, Toyota served as the title sponsor of the Long Beach Grand Prix. That race returns to the streets of southern California this weekend, but Toyota’s name will not be found on the signage. Like a lot of residents, Toyota has fled to Texas. So Acura has stepped up to grab title sponsor duty for the race. But does that mean the celebrity race might return as well?

Along with the IndyCar and IMSA action, Toyota sponsored a celebrity pro-am race through the streets of downtown Long Beach. The grid was packed with all sorts of famous folk from the world of film, television, music, and also actual motorsport. There was a pro driver class and the celebrity amateur class. Friend of Hooniverse Rutledge Wood pulled out a victory one year.

With Acura running the show now, should the automaker consider reviving the celebrity race? And if so, what vehicle would you like to see used for the event?

I think standard Civic turbos would be a good idea, or perhaps jump up to the Si. I’m not sure the mighty Type R is needed in this instance. Either way, it would be a good bit of entertainment for those in attendance, and another chance for some Honda or Acura marketing.

[Image borrowed from Super Street]

19 Comments

  1. I don’t know how Honda would feel about not using Acuras in an Acura-sponsored event, even to use regular Hondas. That said, you can still walk into an Acura dealer and buy an off-brand last-gen Civic Si (sort of – the ILX still uses the old chassis and N/A 2.4), which would be on brand, and probably up to the task just fine.

    1. Fair point, though it’s kind of difficult to tell how much Honda cares about the Acura name at all. It’s like the guys in corporate forgot that they did that back in 2006.

  2. I think last one that I was able to watch that I was both at home and aware of in time to watch the race for was back in the IRL/CART split days in 2002. Some kid named Danica Patrick was in the Pro class and shot through the field to win. Prior to that I watched some in college but it was never a priority compared to the race. However… if you want to get more people watching racing, especially when you can do it anywhere/anytime now, why not? Someone sees a famous person in the real world trying to drive fast and either doing well, or getting completely schooled by a pro, maybe it’ll spark some more curiosity and get viewership up. And surely the Civic can hold up to the duty.

    All that being said… IndyCar has been really good to watch so far this year. Looking forward to Long Beach this weekend.

    1. Yeah bummed I have to head out of town so I won’t be here to attend. (Though I’m heading out on vacation, so not *that* bummed)

  3. Is there still a celebrity race running anywhere? They cost too much because they turn into dodgem car runs.

    1. If they had enough test mules that would be scrapped anyway that would bring the cost down.

      I believe there were several NSXs waiting for the crusher at the end of its development.

    2. If they had enough test mules that would be scrapped anyway that would bring the cost down.

      I believe there were several NSXs waiting for the crusher at the end of its development.

        1. There’s really no reason why they need NEW cars for that event. Maybe they could use recalled/not worth fixing cars (as long as the recall was about something like airbags, that would get stripped out of a race car anyway).
          Or just go full-on demolition derby with old clunkers.

  4. I drove an ILX at the Mid Ohio performance driving school a few years ago. It was one of the last 6 speed models slightly lowered with enormous, amazing brakes. It was a great car and would be a good fit.

  5. The question is not “Should Acura bring back the celebrity race?” Instead, the question should be “Why the Hell is Acura sponsoring the Long Beach Grand Prix?”

  6. The question is not “Should Acura bring back the celebrity race?” Instead, the question should be “Why the Hell is Acura sponsoring the Long Beach Grand Prix?”

  7. They should bring a series that is only available to retired racing drivers. Leave the vile Hollywood people to entertain the morons. Unless we put them in Teslas and rig the batteries to explode, then I’m all for it

  8. As a customer, I’m glad I don’t feel responsible for supporting idiot celebrity culture. People need to get their own lives, or at least get a clue about what an admirable human being would resemble.

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