The Long Beach Grand Prix is the longest running major street race in North America. It started in 1975 as a Formula 5000 race and became a Formula One event the following year. The current race circuit is a 1.968-mile temporary road course situated on the waterfront. It is particularly noted for its last section, which has a hairpin turn followed by a long, slightly curved straightaway that runs the length of Shoreline Drive.
Conceived by founder and promoter Chris Pook, the Inaugural Long Beach Grand Prix was approved by the City in a relatively short time frame. MLA was engaged to do the noise portion of the Environmental Impact Report. Since the cars would be moving at speeds of up to 200 mph, it was difficult to measure the noise level generated by the cars at speed. Working with Dan Gurney our first attempt consisted of trying to capture a noise level reading at a fixed position from a race car driving by. Dan drove his Eagle past the meter at over 100 mph and the indicator immediately pinned.
It was clear that this was not the preferred approach and a new methodology was developed. We parked the car in an empty lot and made noise measurements at a fixed distance for varying angles around the car. We repeated the readings at 1000 rpm intervals to get an idea of the noise footprint of the vehicle. Then Dan wrote down the car’s rpm at positions around the track. In this way we were able to create the outline of the noise contour for one vehicle and then for all the vehicles.