Toyota ends 44-year-old sponsor deal with Long Beach Grand Prix

Toyota will not renew its 44-year-old title sponsorship of IndyCar's Long Beach Grand Prix, ending what organisers claim is the longest running commercial deal in the history of motorsport

Toyota ends 44-year-old sponsor deal with Long Beach Grand Prix

The manufacturer was involved in the very first Long Beach GP in September 1975 as a pacecar provider to what was then a Formula 5000 event (pictured below).

It then continued its association in the Formula 1 years of 1976-83, becoming the title sponsor of the US GP (West) in '80.

When promoter Chris Pook was unable to extend his deal with Bernie Ecclestone, Long Beach became an Indycar event in 1984 and Toyota has remained involved ever since.

"We have had a phenomenal relationship with Toyota for 44 years, a record in the racing world," said Grand Prix Association of Long Beach president and CEO Jim Michaelian. "In recent discussions, however, Toyota elected not to continue as the title sponsor.

"This has now opened up the opportunity to identify a new title partner.

"Coming off a very successful 44th Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach, we're excited about the future and are exploring all possible sponsorship opportunities that might exist in the market.

"I would like to thank Toyota for all that it did to help us grow our event and make it what it is today. We are proud to have had Toyota be the most prominent of our sponsor partners for so many years."

While Toyota had a spell as an Indycar engine supplier for much of the race's history it did not have a direct involvement in the headline event, however, it has supplied road cars for the Pro-Celebrity charity race since 1977.

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