For Immediate Release
LUYENDYK RUNS FIRST TEST OF NEW INDY RACING LEAGUE CAR
PHOENIX, November 14, 1996 -- Arie Luyendyk , the 1990 Indianapolis 500 winner, drove the first testing laps of the first new Indy Racing League car Wednesday at Phoenix International Raceway. Luyendyk turned 23 laps in Treadway Racing's G Force chassis No. GF01-001 with a naturally aspirated Oldsmobile Aurora V8 engine at the one-mile oval.=20 Testing continues today and Friday.
Before the historic test Wednesday, the engine had been installed into the car in the Treadway shop in Indianapolis. The engine had been "fired" three times prior to Wednesday -- on Nov. 8 and Nov. 10 at the shop and at 9 p.m. Nov. 12 near the Treadway team's transporter at P.I.R.
Wednesday's time line (MST):
Car color is natural carbon fiber (black) with No. 5 on it. 1:54 p.m. -- Engine fired for first time of day near Treadway transporter. 2:51 p.m. -- Car pushed to Pit No. 21 on P.I. R. pit road. 2:58 p.m. -- Luyendyk is strapped into car. 3:02 p.m. -- Treadway crewman Jamie Nanny fired the engine. 3:03 p.m. -- Luyendyk leaves pit road, around track, returns to pits. 3:13 p.m. -- Luyendyk runs first two laps around the track.
The most talked-about subject among those at P.I.R. was the sound of the new Oldsmobile Aurora engine. "What'll 33 of these sound like at Indy?" mused Treadway team manager Buddy Lindblom. "Beautiful," answered a crewman with a smile.
ARIE LUYENDYK (Wednesday after test): "With a brand-new car with a brand- new engine, you're going to have teething problems. My initial impression= is that it's going to be a fun car to drive. The initial handling is good.=20 We're already learning about the engine. I kind of had second thoughts= about new engines and new cars because things could break. But I'm excited about being here. I feel like a test hound for the rest of the IRL competitors.= =20 This V8 normally aspirated engine really rumbles. We're not running (yet) flat-out to the full potential of the engine. After all, we've only had= five (hot) laps. I think these cars will appeal to the fans ... they'll like the sounds of the engines. They have that good old V8 sound to it."
TONY GEORGE (president of the Indianapolis Motor Speedway and founder of the IRL, Thursday morning, after watching the car run for the first time): "I really have a good feeling. It was music to my ears. It's good to see the engine and the chassis on the track making noise. They picked it up a bit right off the bat. The gearbox, as the car left the pits, sounded good. = The sounds that come from the engine are going to be really exciting for the fans. I haven't been exposed to them much other than (Las) Vegas (where the cars were unveiled in September). It looks a lot better in the pits with mechanics crawling all over it. After the teams get up and running and we have the first race at Orlando under our belts, I'd like to drive one. It (the program) is coming together fine. We're a little bit late but I think everyone's up to the challenge. A lot has happened in the last nine months ... all the car manufacturers, engine manufacturers, teams have provided input and have been very patient. Everyone's protective of certain things, but a lot of information has been shared and everyone's pulling together."
ED KEATING (manager, Oldsmobile's IRL program, Thursday morning): "Yesterday was just gratifying to know we could go out and run. Yesterday was to set the stage for today. We would like to have Arie run a reasonable lap time. Beyond that, our purpose is to accumulate mileage to prove to ourselves and to the world at large that we have the reliability to run the Indy 200 (at Walt Disney World, Jan. 25, 1997). Right now, we're in the process of rolling out full-scale production of these engines for the Indy 200. There will be a reasonable number of engines for teams to test with by mid-December when some of the IRL open testing starts down in Orlando.=20 Between now and then, we'll use our development engines to do some strategic testing. Our next test will be with the Dallara (chassis). Treadway was= the first to receive a car, so that's why we're here with them."
FRED TREADWAY (owner, Treadway Racing, Wednesday after test): "I thought it was an exciting day. All the parts worked real well. I'm happy to be here. Today, all systems are go. I think the whole package is more appealing than we've had in the past. The cars are going to go almost as fast. I thought I liked the whine (of the previous turbocharged engines) pretty well, but I think I like the loud rumbling better. It's real= special.=20 The team worked real hard to get ready, and I'm proud to be associated with all of them."
JACK LONG (IRL executive director, Wednesday after test): "It's very encouraging for everybody. There's been so many people from the individual teams, so many from G Force and Dallara, Aurora and Nissan, working to bring all those efforts together. He (Luyendyk) ran several (hot) laps and he= went a little faster than we expected. We knew it was going to sound different.= =20 It sounds like a big race car should sound. In the next two or three weeks, we're going to find cars running at Orlando, Phoenix, Vegas and other places to get ready for the Indy 200. Even though this is the start, it's a big start."
LAURIE GERRISH (manager, G Force North American operations): "Very satisfied. There's been a whole lot of work by everybody on both sides of the Atlantic. It's really pleasing to see the car run for the first time.= =20 There were no leaks, no problems. When you hear that engine run and see the car, it puts the fruits of all our labor right in front of our eyes. The time constraints -- 5=AB months from the start to the car first turning a= wheel today... the guys in England have been working 15, 16, 24-hour days, with= all the fabrication work, machining, logistics coordination. Everybody's been pulling together. It's a great day."