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The Avalanche Andretti of Jake Dennis

All eyes on Andretti as Formula E returns to America

A victory in Portland would hand Jake Dennis the lead of the Championship

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Formula E makes its return to the United States as it heads to the city of Portland this weekend.

Indycar racing at the Portland International Raceway
The Portland International Raceway is a familiar track for fans of Indycar (Image credit:

Though Formula E isn’t new to the US,  Portland, Oregon is a new destination for the electric racing series. Formula E has raced in three different cities across the States – Miami, Long Beach and New York – but Portland poses a new challenge for the drivers to tackle. 

The circuit

While Formula E is new to Portland, the city is no stranger to the world of motorsports. It regularly hosts the Grand Prix of Portland, as a part of the IndyCar calendar. Formula E will be taking to that very same circuit. 

At 3.19km in length, the Portland International Raceway circuit consists of 12 quick corners and a long start/finish straight. In fact, it’s the “longest straight we have seen this season”, says Jaguar’s Technical Manager Phil Charles. It’ll give way to some high speeds, followed immediately by the tight right-hander at Turn 1. 

Portland track layout
It’s a fast one… (Image credit: Formula E)

It’s one of the longer circuits this season, meaning that energy-saving will play an important role in race strategy. On top of that, the circuit looks to be very quick. 

“We expect to see very high top speeds and a lot of energy management, making strategy extremely important,” said Nissan team principal Tommaso Volpe. “Setting the car up to suit this track will be a challenge and we are looking at the best way to be efficient and quick around this circuit.”

Acknowledging the particularities of the track, Porsche’s António Félix da Costa cuts the image of a driver ready to take on all that Portland has to offer. “The circuit is super fast. Energy management will play an important role,” he said. “In terms of strategy, it certainly won’t be easy, but that said, we did well at other new racetracks this season. We climbed the podium in Hyderabad and won in Cape Town. Why should Portland be any different?”

Home heroes

Andretti is a name synonymous with motorsports in the US. Avalanche Andretti will undoubtedly be the star of the show this weekend — but can the team make good on all the attention and bring home a win for the American fans?

Andretti’s hopes rest on the capable shoulders of Jake Dennis. The British driver heads into the Portland race weekend second in the championship. But Dennis has the opportunity to change that. Pascal Wehrlein’s lead is marginal, with just a single point separating the two contenders. 

Dennis comes into the Portland E-Prix off the back of four consecutive podiums. Wehrlein’s fortunes have been rather more mixed. The previous four races saw him place P7, P6 and P10 — but he also won a race, allowing him to reclaim his Championship lead. Jake Dennis, on the other hand, hasn’t claimed a victory since the season opener in Mexico. 

Jake Dennis on the podium in Jakarta
Jake Dennis secured back-to-back P2 finishes in Jakarta. (Image courtesy of Formula E)

But Portland could be the perfect place to change that. A win in front of the team’s home crowd would be special. If recent results are anything to go off of, Andretti has the pace to take its second victory of the season. What does Jake Dennis make of the team’s chances? 

“Normally, to be honest, whenever the big boss comes, we don’t perform all that well,” Jake Dennis shared ahead of the race weekend. “But having Michael there, it’s going to be a really big event for us in general, the sponsorship, and the boss coming to a home race.” He added:

“I have every bit of trust in the team that they can give me the package to try and win the race, or if not podium, but, ultimately, it’s a really big opportunity for us to try do it. It’s a big race for Andretti and some IndyCar drivers from Andretti will come over.”

Günther in the mix?

Though they might not be in the midst of the Championship battle, Maserati will undoubtedly be in the mood to win again now that they’ve had a taste of victory

Max Günther was the frontrunner for almost the entirety of the Jakarta double-header. The team have proven they are capable of winning. But with the Championship rivals hungry for a win, Maserati will have to fight to keep the momentum going.

“The weekend in Jakarta was truly special and the victory on Sunday meant a lot to me. I took a little time to enjoy, but then it was back to business,” said Günther in Maserati’s race preview. “Portland looks very fast… I expect to see a similar level of slipstreaming to races like Berlin, but that challenge is something that I enjoy, so I’m excited to try and execute another competitive weekend.”

Wehrlein on the defence

After clawing it back from Nick Cassidy in Jakarta, Pascal Wehrlein will be looking to extend his championship lead this weekend. There’s barely anything between himself and Jake Dennis, so it’ll be a tight fight between the two to see who comes out on top.

Ahead of this weekend’s race, Wehrlein reflected on the sense of “relief” that the win in Jakarta provided himself and the team. “It underlined that we’re still in the game, that we’re still a force to be reckoned with,” said Wehrlein. “The joy and relief were huge. As far as qualifying is concerned, after Monaco we analysed what went well in the first races and what we could’ve done better midseason. We drew the right conclusions from this. We now aim to turn all of this into a top result in Portland.”

Porsche continues to lead the Teams’ standings, with a 56 point lead over Andretti, which is down in fourth.

Where and when to watch the Portland E-Prix

Here’s when you can catch all the action in Portland. All times are in BST:

  • Free Practice 1 — Saturday 24 June at 01:00
  • Free Practice 2 — Saturday 24 June at 18:30
  • Qualifying — Saturday 24 June at 20:40
  • Race — Sunday 25 June at 01:03

Channel 4 Sport YouTube will broadcast qualifying and the race. Regional broadcast options can be found here.

 Featured Image courtesy of Formula E

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