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Formula E

Portland E-Prix Preview: Jaguar's first chance at Formula E title

Jaguar can win the Formula E teams' championship this weekend in the Portland E-Prix double-header, as the season reaches closer to its end.

Portland 2023
Article
To news overview © Sam Bloxham / Formula E

After an almost one-month break since the inaugural Shanghai E-Prix, Formula E bursts back into life this weekend for a crazy Portland double-header. 

With Formula E returning to Miami next season, this weekend is likely the last time we will see the Portland International Raceway on the calendar. It is not a driver favourite, as it offers a spectacle which produced a record-breaking 403 overtakes last year. 

Given we have two races this weekend, there is a genuine chance over 800 overtakes could take place. The peloton will be at its most extreme, which could have a huge say in the drivers' championship. 

The teams' championship could be decided in the United States, ahead of the final two rounds of the season next month in London.

How Jaguar can win the title in Portland

Jaguar is in an incredible position in the teams' championship, with a staggering 73-point lead over Porsche. 

The Coventry-based outfit needs to score just 19 points more than the German manufacturer across the two Portland races to secure its first ever title, which would allow Nick Cassidy and Mitch Evans to fight purely for the drivers' championship. 

It is not only the title Jaguar can win this weekend, as they can also break the record for most points scored in a single season if they claim 21 points in Portland.

Jaguar sits on 299 points ahead of the weekend, with the record of 319 points currently being held by Mercedes-EQ from Season 8. A complete disaster is effectively required for Jaguar to not become champion's this campaign.

			© Simon Galloway / Formula E
	© Simon Galloway / Formula E

Track layout

As mentioned, the Portland E-Prix double-header will take place at the Portland International Raceway for the second year in a row, a venue used previously by IndyCar.

It is, of course, a permanent circuit and one which sees the highest speeds of the season along the start/finish straight. With the energy demands being so high, it is the most chaotic peloton race of the season.

Just like last year, the full configuration is being used, with most of the circuit excluding the start/finish straight being tight. A common theme last year was four to five cars going alongside one another into the first corner.

The circuit itself measures 3.190 km and consists of only 12 corners, and only two that sees a significant amount of braking required.  Qualifying, as a result, will be exceptionally close.

			© Formula E
	© Formula E

What happened last year?

Given that, as mentioned, a record-breaking 403 overtakes took place, the inaugural Portland E-Prix was complete chaos!

Following practice there was huge drama, as both DS Penske drivers were disqualified from qualifying and the team was fined a record-breaking €25,000. The FIA took this action due to DS Penske illegally installing scanning equipment in the pit-lane entry.

From the back, Jean-Eric Vergne and Stoffel Vandoorne recovered to 11th and 12th in the race.

Pole position was claimed by reigning world champion Jake Dennis after defeating Nissan's Sacha Fenestraz in the final duel by 0.079 seconds. Due to the peloton, though, qualifying was irrelevant. 

The race featured a huge crash for Nico Müller, which measured an astonishing 27G. It was an incredibly slow race until Cassidy bolted in the closing laps, to claim a vital victory. 

Dennis and Antonio Felix da Costa completed the podium, whilst Lucas di Grassi scored Mahindra points for the first time since the opening stages of Season 9.

Favourites for victory

As he mastered Portland last season, Cassidy is a clear favourite for at least one win this weekend. Should Cassidy win, then he will take a huge step towards becoming world champion. However, what he cannot afford is a disastrous couple of races. 

Unsurprisingly, Cassidy's team-mate Mitch Evans is another favourite, mostly due to his current form. As he always does, Evans has found great form in the latter stages of the year, although he recognises that a massive haul of points is needed in Portland to remain in the title fight

Oliver Rowland is another driver to watch closely, as he too needs a weekend of big points to be in the title fight come the season finale in the British capital. The Nissan driver proved in Misano that his car works in the peloton, should the race distance be correctly calculated. 

A final favourite, is Antonio Felix da Costa. The Porsche driver enters the weekend having discovered that his Misano disqualification appeal has been unsuccessful, meaning he has lost that victory. Da Costa mastered the peloton in Shanghai to win a race, he can absolutely do the same in the USA. 

			© Simon Galloway / Formula E
	© Simon Galloway / Formula E

Dark horses

A notable absentee from the favourites list is Pascal Wehrlein, who sits second in the standings. The German has struggled in recent rounds and is at risk of slipping out of title contention; however, Porsche's package was exceptional in Portland last season. Do not rule out Wehrlein. 

The same can be said for Jake Dennis, whose title defence is almost over. Whilst mathematically still in contention, the Andretti driver has accepted defeat. Consistency has been a big problem for Andretti this year, although there is every chance Dennis can end the season strongly. 

Jake Hughes is a real dark horse, given he enters this weekend on the back of claiming his first ever Formula E podium in Shanghai. The McLaren driver is quick over one-lap and now understands how to be towards the front in the peloton. A driver who could disrupt Jaguar's final title push. 

How do the championships look?

In the drivers' championship, Cassidy sits on 167 points which is 25 more than Wehrlein in second. Evans completes the top three but is 35 points behind his team-mate and just a point ahead of Rowland in fourth. It is between them four realistically for the championship. 

As explained, Jaguar can seal the teams' championship in Portland should they score 19 points more than Porsche. Based on recent form, this is expected. Nissan sit in third and are 142 points behind Jaguar, but only three ahead of DS Penske and four ahead of Andretti. 

And finally, in the new manufacturers' championship, Porsche have a narrow nine-point lead over Jaguar, whilst Nissan are comfortably adrift in third. 

CLICK HERE for the full championship standings!

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