INDYCAR released the 2018 edition of the Verizon IndyCar Series schedule on Thursday, ending a two-year run at Watkins Glen International and putting a fan favorite from years past in its place.
Thirty-seven minutes prior to the scheduled announcement by the sanctioning body, Watkins Glen released a statement on Twitter confirming that the historic New York road course would not return to the schedule next year although the relationship between the two entities remains healthy.
The statement also mentioned issues concerning the date of the event and the inability to come to terms that would benefit all of the parties involved.
— Watkins Glen Int'l (@WGI) October 12, 2017
Replacing Watkins Glen on Labor Day weekend is Portland International Raceway, a 1.967-mile permanent road course in Oregon that hosted CART and Champ Car races from 1984 through 2007.
The Grand Prix of Portland will be promoted by Green Savoree Racing Promotions, already familiar to INDYCAR as the promoter of the events at St. Petersburg, Toronto and the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course.
“INDYCAR couldn’t be more excited to again race in front of one of our strongest fan bases,” said Hulman & Company CEO Mark Miles.
“Portland International Raceway has produced thrilling road racing throughout Indy car history — the 1997 finish still stands as the record for the closest finish on a road or street course — and the timing of our return couldn’t be better given the bold new look our cars will have in 2018.
“We expect this will be a show fans won’t want to miss.”
Consistency Key to Remainder of 2018 Schedule
The 17-race 2018 schedule features 16 returning races with the same or similar dates to 2017 bringing familiarity for tracks, teams, drivers and fans.
“The strength and consistency of the Verizon IndyCar Series’ 2018 schedule is something all of us should be proud of,” said Miles. “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 season will begin on March 11 on the streets of St. Petersburg, the eighth consecutive year the series has kicked off on the venerable street circuit. The weekend is one of five street races. The others are the 35th appearance of Indy cars on the streets of Long Beach on April 15, the Belle Isle doubleheader on June 2–3 and Toronto on July 15.
Nearly a month after the opening race, the new 2018 bodywork will make its oval debut at Phoenix Raceway on April 7. The event will mark the final race for the track’s current configuration.
“We’re thrilled that the Verizon IndyCar Series Phoenix Grand Prix will return to April 6 and 7 under the lights,” said Bryan Sperber, Phoenix Raceway president. “Our race fans will be treated to the stars of the IndyCar Series racing at record speed at Phoenix at a time of year that delivers chamber of commerce weather.”
The race in Avondale, Arizona will mark the first of six oval races in 2018. The 102nd Running of the Indianapolis 500 will go green on May 27. Texas Motor Speedway, Iowa Speedway, Pocono Raceway and Gateway Motorsports Park will follow on June 9, July 8, Aug. 19 and Aug. 25, respectively.
Balancing the schedule are six races on permanent road courses beginning at Barber Motorsports Park on April 22. The series will then head to the Indianapolis Motor Speedway on May 12 to kick off the legendary month of May. Road course events will continue with Road America on June 24, Mid-Ohio on July 29 and Portland on Sept. 2.
The 2018 championship will once again wrap up at Sonoma Raceway with the season-ending race scheduled on Sept. 16.
Official series testing for next season will begin with a two-day open test at Phoenix on Feb. 9–10.
Details of the television coverage — provided by partners ABC and NBCSN in 2018 — will be announced at a later date.
2018 Verizon IndyCar Series Schedule
|March 11||Streets of St. Petersburg|
|April 7||Phoenix Raceway|
|April 15||Streets of Long Beach|
|April 22||Barber Motorsports Park|
|May 12||Indianapolis Motor Speedway road course|
|May 27||Indianapolis Motor Speedway|
|June 2||The Raceway at Belle Isle Park|
|June 3||The Raceway at Belle Isle Park|
|June 9||Texas Motor Speedway|
|June 24||Road America|
|July 8||Iowa Speedway|
|July 15||Streets of Toronto|
|July 28||Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course|
|Aug. 19||Pocono Raceway|
|Aug. 25||Gateway Motorsports Park|
|Sept. 2||Portland International Raceway|
|Sept. 16||Sonoma Raceway|