Portland IndyCar extension
Joe Skibinski/IndyCar

IndyCar: GP of Portland announces three-year extension through 2023

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Grand Prix of Portland race organizers announced a three-year extension Friday with the city to continue playing host to the NTT IndyCar Series through the 2023 season.

IndyCar returned to the 12-turn, 1.964-mile road course last year after an 11-year absence. The Sept. 13, 2020 race at Portland was canceled because of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

According to the release announcing the news, the 2021 date will be announced later this year. During a news conference Wednesday, Penske Entertainment CEO Mark Miles said IndyCar hopes to announce next year’s schedule by the end of September.

Here’s the release from the Grand Prix of Portland:

PORTLAND, Ore. (August 20, 2020) – After reaching a three-year extension to their current agreement, City of Portland and Green Savoree Portland LLC officials announced today that the Grand Prix of Portland will return to the Pacific Northwest and Portland International Raceway (PIR) through at least 2023.

The 2021 date for the Grand Prix of Portland at PIR will be announced by the NTT INDYCAR SERIES later this year. The event was canceled this year in response to the COVID-19 pandemic and Oregon’s statewide restrictions on public gatherings.

“I was fortunate as a teenager to attend the Indy 500,” says Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler. “I remember the excitement then and we saw the same energy at the 2018 and 2019 Grand Prix of Portland races. As the only event of its kind in the Pacific Northwest, the race not only provides tremendous thrills but also contributes $12-$15 million in economic benefits for the city. I’m excited to see this premier race in Portland for at least the next three years.”

“We are very pleased to have ‘Portland’s Fastest Park’, the Portland International Raceway, hosting the Grand Prix of Portland NTT IndyCar Series race for three additional years,” says Portland Parks & Recreation Director Adena Long. “The Grand Prix has established itself as a summer tradition as Portlanders enjoy the festival atmosphere, the cars, and camaraderie. We look to 2021 through 2023 with great anticipation.”

“We’re disappointed to not be able to bring IndyCar racing back to the great fans in the Pacific Northwest later this summer, but our team is excited to be back in 2021 and beyond through this continued partnership with the City of Portland and the Portland Parks & Recreation division,” said Kim Green, co-owner, chairman and CEO of Green Savoree Racing Promotions, organizers of the Grand Prix of Portland. “We appreciate Mayor Wheeler, the commissioners, Director Long, E.C. (Mueller) and the entire PIR team for their ongoing support of the Grand Prix of Portland, and working with us to make the Grand Prix of Portland even better when it returns next year.”

Ticket purchasers on file for the 2020 event will receive a direct communication from Green Savoree Portland LLC soon on their available options. Ongoing Grand Prix of Portland updates will be posted to portlandgp.com. Race fans can also stay up to speed on the event via social media by following #PortlandGP.

Porsche pulls GTLM cars from Mid-Ohio because of COVID-19 positives

Porsche Mid-Ohio COVID-19
David Rosenblum/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images
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Porsche will skip Saturday’s IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship race with its two GTLM cars at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course after three positive COVID-19 tests were confirmed during the 24 Hours of Le Mans.

That resulted in Porsche choosing to pull out of the Nurburgring 24 Hour endurance race in Germany, electing to avoid sending any team members as a precautionary measure.

Porsche Motorsport announced Tuesday that its COVID-19 decision also would apply at Mid-Ohio to its No. 911 and No. 12 teams.

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Three of Porsche’s four IMSA GTLM drivers — Laurens Vanthoor, Frederic Makowiecki and Nick Tandy — also were racing in Le Mans. The trio has remained isolated in Europe and won’t be allowed to travel.

“Based on yesterday’s decision that no employee or racing driver of our Le Mans team will participate in the Nürburgring 24 Hours, we have today decided that this ruling will also apply to the upcoming IWSC race in Mid-Ohio,” Fritz Enzinger, vice president for Porsche Motorsport, said in a release. “This means that Laurens, Nick and Fred will not be traveling to the USA.

“This is very regrettable, but we would like to emphasize that in this case as well the health of all those concerned is the prime focus of the decisions we have taken.”

The decision also affects Earl Bamber, who teamed with Vanthoor to win the GTLM championship last year in the No. 912.

Porsche said its GTLM Porsche 911 RSR-19 entries will return for the Oct. 10 race at the Charlotte Motor Speedway Roval.

That will reduce the GTLM class to four cars — two Corvettes and two BMWs — this weekend at Mid-Ohio, in what could be somewhat of a 2021 preview. Porsche Motorsport announced earlier this year that it will leave IMSA after the 2020 season because of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.