Watch Amazing Long Beach Grand Prix Onboards Through The Decades

Image: Formula One
Image: Formula One

The Long Beach Grand Prix has been a major piece of international motorsport mystique since its inception in the mid-1970s. This is a race that has showcased Formula 5000, F1, CART, Champ Car, IndyCar, Formula E, sports cars, and vintage racers —and a bunch of other stuff too — though not always at the same time. This weekend marks the 49th running of the event, and if you aren’t watching, you damn well should be. If you need some convincing, just take a look at some of these great onboard videos from the history of the event.

F1 Way Back When

Formula One says it first introduced live onboard cameras to the sport in 1985. This camera mounted atop Patrick Depailler’s Tyrrell 008 at the 1978 LBGP, where he would go on to finish third, is the earliest onboard view of the circuit I could find. Things have definitely changed, though not always for the better.

Speedometer And Fuel Gauges!

Here’s an onboard from the broadcast of the 1989 running of the race with CART. You can ride along with Al Unser, Jr. as the broadcasters marvel at the new Lola T89's new LCD display with speed and fuel economy readouts for the first time ever! You can just watch the whole race if you want, but (spoilers) this was Little Al’s only win of the season.

The ‘Stache

Qualifying at Long Beach is a special affair. Here’s Nigel Mansell pushing his Newman Haas Lola T93 to the pole position. Mansell, fresh off a Formula One world championship in 1992, went on to dominate the Indy Car World Series in 1993 taking five wins and ten podiums. The guy was on fire!

On Target

Speaking of guys who found success in American open wheel and Formula One, Juan Pablo Montoya went to victory at Long Beach in 1999 en route to a dominant season and championship laurels with Ganassi.

Mad Max

Max Papis didn’t really have the success of JPM or Mansell in F1 or Indy, but became a sports car star and won the 24 Hours of Daytona and found the podium a few times at Le Mans. This was a pretty cool lap to watch with him at Long Beach.

Mister Four Time

Helio is just the coolest dude. In 2015 when this was filmed, he’d just run the fastest lap in Long Beach history. It sure looks fast.

Not Onboard

OK, it’s not an onboard, but you just have to watch this SCCA Trans Am race from 1988. It’s worth your time.

Pole To DNF

Gil de Ferran might have been a CART champion in 1997 if it weren’t for the 1997 Long Beach Grand Prix. After shooting off to an incredible lap record run, he crashed and had to wait and watch Alex Zanardi try to beat it. After running at the front for much of the race, de Ferran ultimately finished 21st after sending it into the braking zone and stalling the car. Getting those points and denying Zanardi another race win might have been enough to decide the championship.

Throw It Back

It’s Patrick Long in an old Williams F1 car. What’s not to love?

The Champ Champ

Sebastien Bourdais was at his height in the mid-2000s with Newman Haas Lanigan and the red McDonalds car. The kid just could not stop winning.


Current-spec GT3 runs here with IMSA, you’ll see them running this weekend. Here’s what it’s like.


If you want supercars with a bit more power, check out this onboard from the old Ford GT program.

The Electrics

Yeah, Formula E raced here for a bit, too!


And so did the Mazda prototypes. Oh man, this is getting me excited for IMSA on Saturday.

The Record Lap

If you want to see the current peak of human speed around this track, check out Colton Herta’s pole lap from 2022. Its possible this lap will be beaten this weekend, but for now this is the tops!

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