The 2008 Champ Car World Series will be contested over 14 races, with the addition of a third race in Europe to complement the return of Laguna Seca and the retention of established events the length and breadth of North America.

Despite speculation that the series may expand its overseas roster to include rounds in the UK and either France or Germany, it is Spain that gets the nod following the addition of Jerez de la Frontera to the schedule. The 'sherry country' venue will form an early-June double-header with Zolder, which kicked off the 2007 swing to Europe, with the third race, back at Assen, remaining in September to fill an otherwise lengthy gap between Road America and Surfers Paradise..

Jerez was built to host the 1986 Spanish F1 grand prix and retained the race for seven years, while also adding one of the most popular MotoGP races to its roster in 1989. The circuit, which is set in a deep valley in the south of Spain, may have lost F1 to Barcelona but continues to be a regular testing venue for the series because of its regular good weather.

"By pairing Jerez with Zolder and conducting them in June, we now will be in Europe during two different times next season, rather than just one as we were in 2007," series CEO and president Steve Johnson confirmed, "Assen will remain in September, where it was very successful this year, [but] the two trips expand our reach in Europe and establish two footprints for future growth there."

The 30th Champ Car World Series will feature eight permanent road courses and six temporary street circuits, with six based in the US races, three in Canada and one race in Mexico to maintain a solid base on the North America continent. Jerez and the two other European events will join Surfers Paradise among the four overseas races, although the schedule still requires ACCUS/FIA approval.

The season is not without its casualties, however, and, with the loss of the popular Las Vegas event - which only debuted in 2007 - will revert to opening in Long Beach, where the Champ Car series celebrates its silver anniversary event.

After three official test sessions to open the campaign, the races at Long Beach and Houston go back-to-back on 20 and 27 April, before returning to Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca on 18 May. The first European leg follows with the events at Zolder and Jerez scheduled for the first two weekends in June.

The summer session features a return to the familiar surroundings of Cleveland's Burke Lakefront Airport and the three events that make up the Champ Car Canadian Triple Crown - Mont-Tremblant, Toronto and Edmonton - running through to the middle of July.

A slight reshuffle of dates sees the Portland race moved from its traditional early June date to the end of July in an effort to capitalise on better weather for another silver anniversary event, and will be immediately followed by the fourth Canadian race, in Edmonton. The American schedule wraps up at Road America in early August, before the series returns to Europe for the Assen round and heading off to Australia and Mexico City to conclude the year in early November.

"We have succeeded in improving our schedules for next season, offering Champ Car fans, sponsors, teams, drivers, TV broadcasters and other stakeholders a cohesive, strong calendar of events," Johnson claimed, "For 2008, our prime objectives are to stabilise our events in North America and carefully foster growth in Europe by expanding into Spain, while strengthening the two events in Belgium and Holland that we introduced this season.

"We also will more fully integrate the Atlantic Series into our business operations, and continue to grow it as the premier open-wheel developmental series in the world."

The full 2008 Champ Car World Series schedule is as follows:

April 20 Long Beach
April 27 Houston
May 18 Laguna Seca
June 1 Zolder
June 8 Jerez
June 22 Cleveland
June 29 Mont-Tremblant
July 6 Toronto
July 20 Edmonton
July 27 Portland
August 10 Road America
September 14 Assen
October 26 Surfers Paradise
November 9 Mexico City

all dates pending ACCUS/FIA approval



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