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The news follows last month's announcement that IndyCar racing will return to Portland next year.

COURTESY PWC - The turn one start for the 2017 Pirelli World Challenge race in St. Petersburg, Florida.The Pirelli World Challenge professional sports car series will race in Portland as part of the traditional Rose Cup Races at Portland International Raceway from July 13 to 15, 2018.

"We are very pleased to bring our entire Pirelli World Challenge field to the famed Portland International Raceway and the racing fans in the Northwest," said Greg Gill, President and CEO of WC Vision, the promoter for World Challenge. "The tradition of the Rose Cup Races has been a staple in the Portland area for nearly 60 years and we believe the PWC weekend will be another exciting chapter to the legacy of road racing at PIR. With many of the iconic automobile marques in our series, fans will see some outstanding competition at a great race track. We can't wait to get back to Portland next July."

The news follows last month's announcement that IndyCar racing will return to Portland next year. A new race in the series will be called the Portland Grand Prix and will at PIR over the Labor Day weekend, Aug. 31 to Sept. 2, 2018.

The World Challenge series comprises seven competition classes, ranging from the GT class featuring sports and exotic cars such as McLaren, Porsche, Ferrari, Cadillac and AMG, through sport compact classes featuring Audi, BMW, Nissan, Honda, and Mazda. All seven of the Pirelli World Challenge racing classes will compete in doubleheader races at PIR. The Portland round will be the eighth stop on the 2018 Pirelli World Challenge 10-weekend road racing series.

The Pirelli World Challenge series previously raced in Portland in 2001, 2004, and 2005. Many local racers are enthusiastic about the return of this accessible pro racing series. Unlike many pro racing series, World Challenge offers amateur racers an affordable opportunity to compete at the professional level.

"Pirelli World Challenge coming back to the Northwest has revitalized a lot of interest among fans and racing drivers," says local racer Kyle Keenan of Vancouver. Keenan has past experience in World Challenge, and won an SCCA national championship in 2014. "World Challenge provides a lot of opportunity for drivers like me to show what we've got on our home turf. We're all pumped up for this."

2018 will be the 58th year for the Rose Cup Races at Portland International Raceway. The event was originally organized by the Portland Rose Festival and Cascade Sports Car Club, and has had a number of organizers over the decades. The event is now promoted by Friends of PIR, a nonprofit organization committed to the preservation and enhancement of the racing facility. PIR is financially self-sustaining and does not receive public funding.

"We are very excited to have many of the world's top sports cars and drivers return to Portland International Raceway," said Gary Bockman, President of Friends of PIR. "World Challenge will make for a great addition to the three amateur race groups to form a very attractive motorsports weekend in the Rose City."

For more information on the Pirelli World Challenge series, visit www.world-challenge.com. For information on the Rose Cup Races, visit www.rosecup.com.

To read a Portland Tribune story about the retrun of IndyCar racing, go to http://portlandtribune.com/wh/377518-263624-wheeler-fritz-announce-indycar-return-to-portland.

Other links of interest are http://www.portlandraceway.com and http://www.friendsofpir.com.

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