Portland needs improvements, and a “big promoter” for the IndyCar return

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When the IndyCar series, while it was still CART, embraced broadly the concept of running on circuit in the first half of the 80s, Portland International Raceway was one of the emblems of that expansion. The cars americans visited the path of 3.1 km in length for the first time in 1984, and didn’t leave until 2008, being one of the collateral victims of the reunification between the IndyCar and the Champ Car next to contemporary calendar as already returned to Road America, Cleveland or Laguna Seca.

10 years after his departure from the calendar, the data indicate a return of the circuit of face-to-2018 or 2019 are each time more intense, and the own Mark miles, head of IndyCar, he acknowledged that he had initiated contact. Portland renovated extensively your path in 2008 and, thanks to an intelligent management, have been kept afloat with benefits despite not hosting any big category, which opens the door to the possibility of a return. However, for Tony Cotman, a need for something more than intentions to be viable.

Cotman is the owner of NZR Consulting, a company dedicated to the design of city circuits and advice circuit permanent, that has worked closely with the owners of the circuit of Portland. In statements to Motorsport.com this entrepreneur has praised the state of the circuit with respect to 2007, but stated that the nature of the same means that is not yet ready: “Since it ran there for the last time, the track is wider and the surface is great. The layout has been altered a bit, but all is well. I have not been there in six months, but I would say that would need some improvements, because everything is pretty temporary there”.

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The Portland International Raceway was established in the early 60’s on a road abandoned that belonged to Vanport, a settlement close to Portland it was destroyed by the collapse of a dam in 1948. The complex has had three major renovations (1971, 1984 and 2008), but at all times he has maintained a status of a circuit is semi-permanent, similar to the Gilles Villeneuve of Montreal, in which aspects such as the fence, and some protections are temporary: “you have to make some changes in the fences, for example, but it can be done easily”, said Cotman. “The problem is that, although it is a permanent installation, the costs are higher, due to all the extra stuff you bring, in comparison with a circuit with all the permanent structures”.

therefore, Cotman believes that Portland would need to obtain a quantity of income important on the part of the audience or a significant investment of the developer if it is intended that an event of IndyCar could be profitable: “What worries me is that you don’t need only one promoter, if not a big promoter, someone who is willing to take a financial risk greater. Portland, you probably need to have 80,000 people on a weekend to work to pay the bills, while at Barber I can assert with 20.000”

200 miles of Portland (Grand Award since 2004) were held for 24 consecutive years without interruption, always in the month of June. In its first edition, Al Unser, Jr. he achieved the first victory of his career, and added two more in the 90’s, being the great winner of the test together with a Michael Andretti who won three consecutive times before to try their luck in Formula 1. In 1996, Alex Zanardi would make history by celebrating his first victory in the united States with a few donuts that were to become its hallmark, and that today are used in celebrations all over the world. Mark Blundell and AJ Allmendinger also were winners at this circuit, with the first beating the brazilians Gil de Ferran and Raul Boesel by 55 thousandths of an end of stroke. Sebastien Bourdais, in 2007, was the last to taste the glory in Portland.