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PWC adds Portland to 2018 schedule in July

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Pirelli World Challenge has added a race weekend at Portland International Raceway to its 2018 calendar, July 13-15, 2018 as part of the 58th Rose Cup Races. It marks the series’ return to Portland for the first time since 2005.

“The Pirelli World Challenge road racing series is one of North America’s premier racing series and we are very excited to have many of the world’s top sports cars and drivers return to Portland International Raceway,” said Gary Bockman, president, Friends of PIR. “The variety of PWC machinery that will come to PIR for the 58th Rose Cup Races will make for a great addition to the three amateur race groups forming a very attractive motorsports weekend in the Rose City. Our fans will enjoy the PWC action.”

But it’s what else this addition to the calendar means that’s probably worth noting.

It’ll be the GT, GTS and TC classes racing over that weekend, with two races apiece. The GT classes will be in the SprintX, two-driver, 60-minute format – and that race length as indicated by PWC is important to note because it means there aren’t plans to extend the 60-minute length to a longer distance in 2018, as has been discussed.

Second, it isn’t on the Verizon IndyCar Series weekend at Portland, which is on Labor Day weekend.

NBC Sports understands PWC is targeting that September weekend to fill its lone remaining TBD weekend at another established permanent road course.

Third, the Portland addition fills the lone July TBD slot, and means Pirelli World Challenge won’t be returning to the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course in 2018. It had been part of the weekend slate along with IndyCar at the end of July for several seasons.

Fourth, both this Portland date and the TBD September date would be apart from any IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship weekends, meaning drivers who have commitments in both championships could be free to race in both without missing any rounds.

The Portland July date falls in-between IMSA’s three race-in-four weekend stretch, after Watkins Glen and Canadian Tire Motorsport Park and before Lime Rock Park. And IMSA races only at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca on September 9, so the Labor Day date falls before that weekend.

The updated PWC schedule is below.

2018 Pirelli World Challenge Schedule

Date, Track, City
March 9-11, Streets of St. Petersburg, St. Petersburg, Fla.
March 24-26, Circuit Of The Americas (COTA), Austin, Tex,
April 13-15, Streets of Long Beach, Long Beach, Calif.
April 28-30, Virginia International Raceway, Alton, Va.
May 18-20, Canadian Tire Motorsport Park, Bowmanville, Ont., CAN
May 25-26, Lime Rock Park, Lakeville, Conn.
June 22-24, Road America, Elkhart Lake, Wis.
July 13-15, Portland International Raceway, Portland, Ore.
August 10-12, Utah Motorsports Campus, Grantsville, Utah
September, TBA
October 19-21, Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca, Salinas, Calif.
(With SRO International GT Challenge)

Eriksson snatches Macau Formula 3 pole from Norris

FIA F3 Europe
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Joel Eriksson snatched pole position for Saturday’s qualifying race ahead of the Macau Grand Prix after a thrilling fight with McLaren youngster Lando Norris and Ferrari junior Callum Ilott.

Norris headed into the second stage of qualifying on provisional pole after lapping almost a second faster than any other driver in Thursday’s first opening session, and remained in contention early in Q2.

Norris was the first driver to dip into the 2:10s with a time of 2:10.744, only for Eriksson to go 0.024 seconds faster minutes later and snatch pole away.

Despite a later effort to try and reclaim pole, Norris was unable to improve his time, and opted to remain in the pits for the final five minutes of the session after using up his allocated tires.

Ilott was the final driver to put in a serious bid for pole position, falling 0.09 seconds short with his final qualifying lap to sit third on the grid for the qualifying race.

Maximilian Gunther claimed fourth place for Prema Powerteam ahead of Ferdinand Habsburg and Dan Ticktum, with Mick Schumacher taking P7.

Yuhi Sekiguchi wound up eighth despite a late crash that brought out a red flag, while Sergio Sette Camara and Guanyu Zhou completed the top 10 positions in qualifying.

Saturday’s qualifying race will help form the grid for Sunday’s main event, the 64th Macau Grand Prix.