Champ Car loses Las Vegas, gains Jerez

Champ Car has just released its 2008 calendar and it will feature 14 races, the same number as happened this year, although this was reduced from the original calendar because of events that were cancelled. It is interesting to note that the US series has added another European date at Jerez de la Frontera in Spain. The track has been shut out of F1 since 1997 and has obviously now given up hope of ever getting a Grand Prix back and is happy to throw its lot in with Champ Car. Jerez will be twinned with the race in Zolder in June and the teams will then return to Europe for Assen in September. We would expect to see a fourth race twinned with Assen in 2009, rumours suggesting that there may well be a British venue coming.

The announcement about Jerez has to some extent obscured the fact that the series has dropped its much-vaunted race in Las Vegas. This was the opening round of the series last year and aimed to revive the old downtown area, around Fremont Street. This was much-hyped but little-attended.

This might suggest that the way could be open for a replacement race in Nevada, perhaps for F1, but if Champ Car flopped in Vegas the risk of investing in F1 may seem far too big for any potential promoter as the kind of money needed for a Grand Prix is considerably higher than the fees being asked by Champ Car.

Also gone is the street race in San Jose, California but the good news is that Laguna Seca is back on the calendar for the first time in years, with a date in May.

There will be eight permanent circuits and six temporary tracks.

The calendar is as follows: April 20, Long Beach; April 27, Houston; May 18, Laguna Seca; June 1, Zolder (B); June 8, Jerez de la Frontera (E); June 22, Cleveland; June 29, Mont-Tremblant; July 6, Toronto; July 20, Edmonton; July 27, Portland; August 10, Road America; September 14, Assen (NL); October 26, Surfers Paradise (AUS) and November 9, Mexico City.

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