IRL: New Olds Pace Car

NEW OLDSMOBILE ALERO PACES IRL RACES Fountain, Colo.; August 14, 1998 -- There is a new leader of the pack in the Pep Boys Indy Racing League: Oldsmobile's sporty 1999 Alero coupe. The Alero made its pace car debut at Charlotte...

NEW OLDSMOBILE ALERO PACES IRL RACES

Fountain, Colo.; August 14, 1998 -- There is a new leader of the pack in the Pep Boys Indy Racing League: Oldsmobile's sporty 1999 Alero coupe. The Alero made its pace car debut at Charlotte Motor Speedway on July 25 when three-time Indy 500 winner Johnny Rutherford led 24 roaring Indy cars to the green flag. Alero will continue its pace car duties this weekend at the Radisson 200 at Pikes Peak International Raceway.

Oldsmobile is launching the all-new Alero -- available in two-door coupe and four-door sedan models -- with a high-energy campaign: "Start Something." With a host of standard features, Alero is up to the challenge of starting an Indy car race with no engine modifications. The pacesetting Alero is based on a production GLS coupe outfitted with IRL-required safety equipment such as strobe lights and a roll bar.

"The fact that a production Alero can pace a Pep Boys Indy Racing League event demonstrates Alero's excellent handling, road-holding ability, and spirited performance," said Bob Clark, Alero brand manager.

"Alero's Active Response System provides a 'connected to the road' feeling on the highway and on the race track," Clark noted. "The Active Response System consists of 16 features that work together to create a very special driving experience."

The Active Response System, which is standard on every Alero, includes a rigid 25 Hz body structure, four-wheel independent suspension, low-mass aluminum suspension components, precise rack-and-pinion steering, low-profile tires, four-wheel disc brakes with ABS, and all-speed traction control.

The Alero IRL Pace Car is powered by a 170-horsepower, 3.4-liter V6 with aluminum cylinder heads, sequential electronic fuel injection, and stainless steel exhaust system. An electronically controlled four-speed overdrive automatic transaxle with a 3.05:1 final drive ratio handles the V6's 200 lb./ft. of torque.

The Alero IRL Pace Car is equipped with the optional Sport Suspension package that includes high-rate springs, solid front and rear stabilizer bars, and P225/50R16 Goodyear Eagle RS-A tires. The race pacer's polished 16 x 6.5" alloy wheels are standard equipment on all GLS models. Eye-catching custom Gold Pearl over Chrome Yellow paint distinguishes the Alero IRL Pace Car from "civilian" versions.

Oldsmobile is showcasing the new Alero at selected IRL events to introduce racing fans to the latest addition to Oldsmobile's product line. Alero will be Oldsmobile's most affordable entry (with an MSRP ranging from $16,325 to $20,875) and is expected to be the Division's highest volume car line by the end of its first year of production.

"Alero is targeted at customers who need a car that provides everyday functionality, reliability, safety, and versatility," said Doug Schumacker, Alero assistant brand manager-marketing. "These independent-minded consumers also want a car that is visually distinctive, with an inviting driver-oriented interior and a high level of fun-to-drive attributes."

With appealing features and an attractive price, the introduction of Oldsmobile's 1999 Alero promises to be the start of something big -- on the race track and on the highway.

1999 ALERO IRL PACE CAR SPECIFICATIONS

The IRL Alero Pace Car is a stock production GLS coupe with IRL-required safety equipment and custom paint. The following are technical features of Oldsmobile's pacesetting 1999 Alero GLS coupe:

POWERTRAIN Engine: 3.4-liter (205ci) OHV V6 Horsepower: 70 @ 4800 rpm Torque: 200 lb-ft @ 4000 rpm Bore x Stroke: 92 x 84 mm Compression: 9.50:1 Block: Cast iron, 60-degree Vee angle Heads: Aluminum, two valves per cylinder, splayed intake and exhaust valves Lubrication: Wet-sump, 4 qt. capacity Induction: Sequential electronic fuel injection

CHASSIS Drivetrain: Transverse front engine/front-wheel-drive Transmission: 4-speed electronically controlled automatic Chassis: Unit construction with full frame front chassis cradle and rear suspension crossmember Body: Welded steel stampings Length: 186.7" Width: 70.1" Wheelbase: 107" Weight: 3026 lbs. Suspension: Front: Independent, MacPherson strut (gas pressurized), coil springs, anti-roll bar Rear: Independent "tri-link" design, MacPherson strut (gas pressurized), coil springs, anti-roll bar Steering: Power-assisted, variable-effort rack-and-pinion, 14.7:1 ratio Brakes: Four-wheel disc with ABS, 10.9" vented front rotors, 10.9" solid rear rotors, 366.9 sq. in. swept area Wheels: 16 x 6.5" alloy Tires: Goodyear Eagle RS-A P225/50R16 Fuel Capacity: 15.0 gallons

JOHNNY RUTHERFORD FAST FACTS

Birthdate: March 12, 1938 Residence: Fort Worth, Texas Indianapolis 500 Wins: 1974, 1976, 1980 Indianapolis 500 Poles: 1973, 1976, 1980 Indianapolis 500 Starts: 24 (first in 1963, last in 1988) Career Indy car Starts: 315 Career Indy car Wins: 27 Career Indy car Poles: 23 Career Highlights: Started Indy car driving career in 1962 at Hoosier Hundred . . . fastest qualifier for Daytona 500 in 1963 . . . won first Indy car race in 1965 (Atlanta) . . . won PPG Indy Car World Series championship and named "Driver of the Year" in 1980 . . . retired from racing in 1994 . . . named IRL Special Projects Coordinator in 1995.

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Series IndyCar
Drivers Johnny Rutherford