IndyCar cancels Portland, Laguna Seca; adds Mid-Ohio, Gateway, Indy

IndyCar cancels Portland Laguna Seca
Larry Placido/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images
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UPDATE: IndyCar and Mid-Ohio Sports Car Couse announced Saturday that the Aug. 8-9 race weekend has been postponed to September or October

The NTT IndyCar Series has canceled three races in September at Portland International Raceway and Weather Tech Raceway at Laguna Seca, announcing Monday the expansion to three race doubleheader weekends to fill the gaps this season.

The first will take place at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course, which will add a race Saturday, Aug. 8 race to precede its previously announced Sunday, Aug. 9 event.

World Wide Technology Raceway at Gateway also will add a Saturday, Aug. 29 event to pair with its Sunday, Aug. 30 race. The Indianapolis Motor Speedway road course will play host to an additional race Friday, Oct. 2., adding to its already scheduled Saturday, Oct. 3 event — which now will mark the last of three races conducted this season on the road course layout that includes part of the famed 2.5-mile oval.

In a format similar to Iowa, World Wide Technology Raceway announced the lineups for both races will be set during an Aug. 29 qualifying session with the first lap determining the starting spot for Saturday’s 200-lap race and the second awarding the starting spot for Sunday’s 200-lap race.

IndyCar recently completed consecutive race weekend doubleheaders at Road America and Iowa Speedway that were well-received by teams.

“Our race fans have loved the exciting doubleheader action of the NTT IndyCar Series this year at Road America and Iowa Speedway,” Penske Entertainment Corp. President and CEO Mark Miles said in a release. “We look forward to giving them even more world-class entertainment this season at three of the most exciting racetracks on the NTT IndyCar Series calendar.”

The Grand Prix of Portland on Sept. 13 and the Grand Prix of Monterey at Laguna Seca doubleheader Sept. 20-21 have been canceled “by mutual decision between the series and promoters” because of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

IndyCar said it plans to return to both tracks next year. Portland had returned to the IndyCar schedule in 2018 after its most recent Champ Car race in 2007. Laguna Seca was the site of last year’s season finale after last playing host to Champ Car in 2004.

Here’s the release announcing IndyCar canceled its Portland and Laguna Seca races:

INDIANAPOLIS (July 27, 2020) – The NTT IndyCar Series released an updated 2020 race calendar today featuring several modifications.

Three events already scheduled on the series calendar will now become doubleheader weekends, including IndyCar’s upcoming race weekend at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course. Prior to the originally scheduled Honda Indy 200 at Mid-Ohio on Sunday, Aug. 9, the stars of the NTT IndyCar Series will square off in another championship-points paying event Saturday, Aug. 8.

In addition, the race weekends at World Wide Technology Raceway in August and the Indianapolis Motor Speedway Road Course in October will become doubleheader weekends. WWTR will feature races Saturday, Aug. 29 and Sunday, Aug. 30. IMS will add a road course race Friday, Oct. 2 before the already scheduled event Saturday, Oct. 3.

“Our race fans have loved the exciting doubleheader action of the NTT IndyCar Series this year at Road America and Iowa Speedway,” Penske Entertainment Corp. President & CEO Mark Miles said. “We look forward to giving them even more world-class entertainment this season at three of the most exciting racetracks on the NTT IndyCar Series calendar.”

INDYCAR’s race at Portland International Raceway and double-header weekend at WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca have been canceled due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The cancellation of both event weekends was a mutual decision between the series and promoters following close consultation and monitoring of the local situation. The series looks forward to returning to both venues in 2021.

The NTT IndyCar Series remains on track to run 14 races in the 2020 season. The full, updated schedule can be found at IndyCar.com/Schedule.

NEOM McLaren Formula E announces Jake Hughes will join Rene Rast for 2023 season

McLaren Formula E Hughes
McLaren Racing
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Doubling down on their commitment to electric auto sports, McLaren Racing announced Jake Hughes will join Rene Rast to compete in the 2023 Formula E Series (FE), which completes their driver lineup.

The NEOM McLaren FE team was formed by the acquisition of the Mercedes-EQ Formula E team that won the 2021 and 2022 championships with Stoffel Vandoorne and Nyck de Vries behind the wheel.

“Today’s announcement feels like a long time coming,” said Ian James, managing director of NEOM McLaren Electric Racing in a release. “Since May this year, when we first announced McLaren Racing’s entry into Formula E, we have been working tirelessly to get in place the best possible team and structure for sustainable success.

“On the one hand, we have been working on the retention of the amazing talent that already was in place before going into the transitional phase. I’m proud to say I think we’ve done a great job on that front.

“On the other hand, we have been focusing on putting in place new processes and new talent – and the latter includes the drivers.”

The driver lineup clasps the two hands together.

Hughes brings 10 years racing experience in single seater cars, including a role with the acquired Mercedes-EQ team as a reserve and development driver for the past two seasons. He is the 2013 BRDC Formula 4 champion and has multiple wins in Formula 2, including two in 2020.

Announced in August, Rast joins the team after earning two podium finishes and six top-fives in 22 career Formula E starts for Audi Sport ABT before returning to the DTM Series last year. Rast’s best finish in Formula E came in the Puebla E Prix when he finished second to teammate Lucas di Grassi by less than a half second.

McLaren’s commitment to Formula E comes one year after they entered the Extreme E rally series in 2022 with Tanner Foust and Emma Gilmour in the driver lineup. After a modest start to the season, the McLaren XE drivers crossed the finish line first in Round 4 in Chile, but were assessed a time penalty that dropped them to fifth. Last week in the season finale in Uruguay, they held onto a hard-earned second place finish.