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Formula E Preview: Portland - Race start times, how to watch

Written by Vyas Ponnuri

Formula E now heads into its penultimate race weekend, as the caravan rolls in for its annual stateside jaunt, heading once again to the Portland International Raceway for the Portland E Prix.

First held in season nine, Portland could be described as the origins of Formula E's infamous peloton racing, which has caused widespread displeasure among some, apart from playing host to entertaining races with plenty of overtaking on show.

While the entertainment was definitely on show, with as many as 403 overtakes in only 28 laps, pundits and fans may have argued whether it was real racing or not. It was a race to savour, nonetheless, as Nick Cassidy once again showed his determination and resilience to bounce back from poor qualifying sessions, winning the race after starting tenth on the grid.

In the works Jaguar this year, Cassidy's performances have taken on the same trend as Portland. In the peloton-style races at Misano and Berlin earlier this year, Cassidy bounced back from eighth to get third on the line, denying ABT Cupra's Nico Muller a heroic podium.

Almost a month later, the New Zealander once again displayed his street smarts at Berlin, weaving his way through the chaos from ninth on the grid to win, having fallen to as low as 21st and dead last at one point. The next day, he kept a cool and mature head to finish second, in yet another frantic peloton race.

While you can expect the Jaguar driver, also the championship leader, to flourish once again in the stateside race, he will be up against many other contenders, not least the Porsche of Antonio Felix Da Costa, the Portuguese driver looking to put the debacle of his Misano disqualification being upheld, and continue his rich vein of form ever since.

Another driver Cassidy will have to face up against is his teammate Mitch Evans, his fellow Kiwi being another with momentum in his favour, having won two of the last five races. Evans, a championship contender many times, will finally be looking to get the odds in his favour, and win the world championship trophy he has been eyeing for a few seasons.

Other prospects in line include last year's Portland pole-sitter Jake Dennis making a strong case to take the battle down to the final weekend of racing in London, while Nissan's star Oliver Rowland knows a thing or two about finishing on the podium in peloton style races, having inherited the win from Da Costa in Misano, whilst finishing third both times in Berlin, from 16th on the grid.

There's also the case of Jaguar sewing up the teams championship this weekend, as the team from Coventry sits 73 points clear of their closest rivals in the standings, Porsche. Had the Misano disqualification been overturned, the German manufacturer would've found themselves about 50 points off, and still in with a shout of taking the fight until London.

But now it leaves a situation where Jaguar can seal the title even before the Formula E paddock leaves the United States. A 95-point lead is enough for the British team to take the spoils for this season, even before heading into the season finale at London. There's also the small matter of a record points tally for the championship leaders, as they sit only 24 off Mercedes EQ's 319 points tally from 2022.

With plenty of narratives and storylines in the mix once again, Formula E jets off to Portland for a double header, the final race at the location, with the electric racing series finding a new home at Miami's Homestead raceway for next season.

The course for the weekend

Our contingent of 22 drivers are set to take to the Portland International Raceway once again, as Formula E gears up for the stateside race weekend.

The layout for the course remains the same as last season, and the same configuration as the track used last season. This layout is also used for IndyCar's Portland race later in the year.

A lap of the circuit kicks off with a wide entry into the chicane consisting of turns one and two, a major overtaking point for the drivers. The sheer width of the track on the run down to the chicane means drivers can even come barrelling in four or five abreast, with room for as many as three cars to go side-by-side into the chicane.

The exit of the chicane leads onto a narrow stretch of track, with overtaking at a minimum along the right-handers of turns four and five, before the winding left-hander of turn six can serve as an unorthodox overtaking spot.

The lap then reaches the sharp right of turn seven, onto the long speed section encompassing the kinks of turns eight and nine along the way. With the attack mode activation zone on the outside of turn seven, expect plenty of battles along this speed section, towards the quick chicane of turns ten and eleven, an unorthodox overtaking spot.

A quick run down to the medium-speed right hander of turn 12 takes the drivers back onto the main straight, and across the line for a lap of the circuit.

Concerned of the approach speeds towards the final corner, there were plans to put up a chicane to slow the drivers down, however this plan has been swiftly done away with, as the circuit retains its original layout for the race weekend.

Schedule for the weekend (times in British Standard Time):

Friday, 28th June:

Free practice one: 00:55 - 01:45 BST

Saturday, 29th June

Free Practice 2: 15:25 - 16:15 BST

Qualifying: 17:40 - 19:03 BST

Round 13 (28 laps): 22:03 - 23:30 BST

Sunday, 30th June

Free Practice 3: 15:25 - 16:15 BST

Qualifying: 17:40 - 19:03 BST

Round 14 (28 laps): 22:03 - 23:30 BST

The Championship Picture

25 points in the lead, Nick Cassidy still holds the advantage to the chasing pack. The Kiwi will be vary of what happened last season, after his championship prospects were dashed due to a massive crash at Rome, when his nearest competitor snatched the advantage heading into the finale, putting Cassidy under intense pressure.

While the remnants of Rome and London have been left far behind, Cassidy will know exactly what he needs to do to keep his championship chances alive. If he leaves Portland with a 59-point lead, he will be guaranteed the championship, without having to rely on his rivals chasing him down.

His closest competitors Wehrlein and Evans will be looking to chase down and narrow the gap to the Kiwi ahead. Both of them have triumphed on permanent road courses, Wehrlein winning at Misano earlier this year, while Evans won at Shanghai in Formula E's last outing.

Evans, in particular, remains a larger challenge in Cassidy's path, and is easily capable of mounting a late charge to take the battle down to his home race in London.

Right on his heels is another breakout star in 2024, though. Rowland has experienced success in peloton races in 2024, winning at Misano before leading the second race of the weekend until last-lap heartbreak hit.

He took two podiums from well down the order at Berlin, coming out on top in similar peloton-style races. Don't count him out of the battle just yet, as he can set up a title decider in London with a similar performance.

Jake Dennis in the Andretti Formula E car will be hunting for victory, and will need other factors to go his way just to take the championship battle to London, as he looks to have an outside shot at the championship.

Any other names to watch out for

Apart from the championship-contending quintet, the DS Penske duo of Stoffel Vandoorne and Jean-Eric Vergne will be looking to make it seven teams on the top step in 2024. Although both drivers remain in the hunt for the title mathematically, they will be looking to nail down a strong performance to help the French-American team finish as high up in the constructors championship as possible.

Nissan's Sacha Fenestraz hasn't quite found the same success as his returning teammate. However, he will be eager to bring home a big result to gain some confidence heading into the business end of the 2024 Formula E season.

Envision Racing have experienced a torrid run this year, the defending champions having slid down to eighth in the constructors. Their drivers Sebastian Buemi and Robin Frijns will be looking to put themselves in the shout for big points this weekend, and maybe come away with a surprise victory to salvage their campaign.

Race start times

Here are the start times for the Portland E Prix races, to help you tune in just before the race gets underway:

Do make sure to tune in to live action this weekend, and find out the next story in the tale of Formula E's tenth season. Here's how you can watch the weekend's action live, from the comfort of your homes.


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