For Immediate Release
NISSAN MOTOR CORPORATION ANNOUNCES COMMITMENT TO 1997 INDIANAPOLIS 500
New V8 Engine to wear "Infiniti Indy" Name Plate
INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. (February 14) -- Nissan Motor Corporation U.S.A. today announced plans to compete as an engine supplier in the Indy Racing League (IRL) beginning in 1997. The new powerplant, a racing version of the 32-valve V8 engine found in the Infiniti Q45 luxury performance sedan, will run for top honors in next year's prestigious Indianapolis 500.
"It's appropriate that we've come to the historic Indianapolis Motor Speedway to make this exciting announcement," said Jerry Florence, Nissan's vice president of brand and consumer marketing. "Nissan's winning heritage has placed us among an elite group of automotive manufacturers. We are looking forward to continuing that tradition at the most important motor race in the world."
Nissan's announcement marks the first time the company will compete in a major open-wheel racing series during it's twenty-nine years of sports car racing in America. Nissan's heritage includes 32 IMSA manufacturer and driver Championships and 73 SCCA National Championships along with numerous off-road truck racing Championships. The project will also signify the first official venture into motorsports competition for the Infiniti Division.
"The IRL engine regulations provide us with a fantastic opportunity to showcase the performance and durability of our Infiniti V8 at a reasonable cost," noted Florence. "We were attracted to the IRL's production-based engine concept, and hope to use the competitive arena of racing to further develop, refine and market an already great product."
The new powerplant, known as the "Infiniti Indy" VRH40DE engine will be a joint development project between Nissan Motor Corporation U.S.A. and Nissan Motor Company Ltd.'s International Motor Sports Department. A similar V8 engine successfully competed in last season's IMSA GTS-1 series, taking Nissan to several wins, including history-making third-consecutive victories at the legendary 12 Hours of Sebring endurance race.
"The Indy Racing League is proud to welcome Nissan as an engine supplier to our new series," said Jack Long, IRL executive director. "When you consider the important role that Nissan has played in motorsports history, today's announcement takes on additional significance. Nissan has a long-standing commitment to winning, and we are looking forward to Nissan and its Infiniti Division continuing that tradition here in the IRL and at the Indianapolis 500."
Nissan's Indy program will focus on becoming an engine supplier to participating IRL teams. Customers will be able to purchase assembled powerplants or apply their own sourced aftermarket components such as camshafts, crankshafts and pistons in the Infiniti Indy V8 block and cylinder heads.
The Infiniti Indy V8 design will closely resemble that of its street production counterpart. In keeping with IRL regulations, the racing version will feature the stock Infiniti V-8 90-degree cylinder bank angle, camshaft drive system and cylinder bore spacing. the motor will be limited by IRL rules to a maximum of 10,500 RPM and is naturally aspirated instead of turbocharged, two factors expected to be critical in keeping engine costs down.