The Verizon IndyCar Series, the premier level of open-wheel motorsport in North America, is to return to Portland International Raceway in 2018 after a ten-year absence.
The Portland Grand Prix is to take place on Labor Day Weekend 2018, and is the only IndyCar Series race currently scheduled in the Pacific Northwest.
The new addition means Watkins Glen, which was added to the IndyCar calendar last season, will be replaced after pulling in low attendance numbers last year and again during September’s event this year.
Portland had hosted a race from 1984 to 2007 as part of the Champ Car series, before the Champ Car/Indy Racing League merger resulted in it being removed from the IndyCar series’ calendar.
“IndyCar couldn’t be more excited to again race in front of one of our strongest fanbases,” said Mark Miles, chief executive of Hulman & Company, which owns IndyCar and the Verizon IndyCar Series. “Portland International Raceway has produced thrilling road racing throughout IndyCar history - the 1997 finish still stands as the record for the closest finish on a road or street course.
“We have for some time believed that IndyCar needs to be in the north-west. We've had extensive discussions with a number of cities. And we just kept coming back to Portland. We’re also looking forward to continuing the upward trend of the series through the introduction of the universal aero kits, which testing has shown to be an exciting product.”
The Mayor of Portland, Ted Wheeler, added: "I see this as a huge boon for the city, not just for people who live here, but also in terms of tourism or travel. This will be an economic boon to the community as well. The sky's really the limit."
The 2018 Verizon IndyCar Series race will take place at Portland International Raceway from 31st August to 2nd September, and will be the 23rd IndyCar Series season, with Josef Newgarden entering the season as the defending drivers' champion. The race is due to return to Portland in 2019 and 2020.