Bowmanville, Ont. -- There is one name at the top of the IMSA Exxon World SportsCar and Exxon Supreme GTS-1 championship standings: Oldsmobile.

Oldsmobile's advanced multi-valve Motorsport Aurora V8 has dominated IMSA road racing in 1996, powering Wayne Taylor and the Doyle Racing Riley & Scott Oldsmobile Mk-III to four victories and the top spot in the World SportsCar division. Irv Hoerr and his Brix Racing Aurora have been even more formidable in the GTS-1 sedan category, racking up six wins -- including a string of five straight -- in seven starts.

After a six-week break in the IMSA schedule, the Aurora V8 will return to action in back-to-back rounds of the IMSA series over the next two weekends. First the Aurora racers will take on the 2.45-mile Mosport road course in the Ontario countryside in a three-hour race on August 25. Then one week later, they will race through the streets of Dallas in a two-hour Texas shootout on September 1.

To succeed on two such different race courses will require a combination of horsepower, torque, and stamina -- attributes the Aurora V8 has already demonstrated this season with victories on such diverse tracks as Daytona, Sebring, Road Atlanta, Texas World Speedway, Lime Rock, Watkins Glen, and Sears Point.

"The differences between Mosport and Dallas are going to be tremendous," reports GTS-1 points leader Irv Hoerr. "Mosport is an honest-to-goodness high-speed race track; Dallas is a short, tight, and rough temporary circuit.

     "Having said that, I'll admit that street courses are my
 favorite," Hoerr adds.  "I like wrestling with the race car."

Hoerr and teammate Darin Brassfield will be joined at Mosport by Brian Cunningham, grandson of road racing pioneer Briggs Cunningham. "Brian and I will start the race, and then Darin will choose which car he gets into," Irv explains. "Our goal is to get the maximum number of points for Darin, and finish first and second in the championship."

Wayne Taylor, lead driver for the Doyle Racing Riley & Scott Mk-III, is also sharpening his championship strategy. Taylor enjoys a narrow five-point advantage over archrival Ferrari driver Max Papis.

"A win a Mosport is vital because the circuit's long straightaways favor the Ferraris," said Taylor. "With three races left, Mosport will be a crucial one for us to own.

"I just love street circuits like Dallas," adds Taylor, who is aiming for his third straight win in the Lone Star state after consecutive victories at Texas World Speedway in 1995 and 1996. "To drive a street circuit well, you have to be very precise, very accurate, and very smooth . . . it seems to suit my driving style."

Crew chief Mark Scott recognizes the realities of street racing and is prepared to accept the consequences. "Street races are known for their carnage," he comments. "We'll be surprised if we don't get hit. We have no problem returning to the race shop in Indy with nothing but rubble in the transporter."

The back-to-back races in Mosport and Dallas will set the stage for the season finale in Daytona on October 6 -- and promise to bring the IMSA championship picture into sharp focus.

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E-mail from: Rick Voegelin, 21-Aug-1996