Construction has begun on the eleven-turn Long Beach street circuit ahead of its debut on the IndyCar Series schedule, which makes its first visit to the Californian venue in mid-April.
Over the next two months, more than 14 million pounds of concrete block that line the race circuit will be set in place, turning Shoreline Drive in downtown Long Beach into a 200-mph straightaway before the IndyCar Series can take over from previous incumbent Champ Car over the weekend of 17-19 April. The IRL will share top billing with the American Le Mans Series, which has rapidly established itself as a favourite on the streets following last year's epic event, which headlined the event alongside the last ever Champ Car race.
Grand Prix Association of Long Beach director of operations Dwight Tanaka and a staff of 40 will put in more than 30,000 working hours installing the concrete blocks, three miles of fencing and 16,000 bolted-together tyres, as well as erecting 15 grandstands, seven pedestrian bridges and eight giant-vision boards for full-circuit TV coverage.
"It's like we build a small town for a weekend," Tanaka noted, "With more than 175,000 people expected to attend the race, they'll need everything from hospitality suites to rest rooms to trash containers to a hundred other little things.
"And building it is only half our job. On Sunday night, when the last race engine is switched off, we'll start taking everything down, inspect all of it and start getting it ready again for 2010."