IRL: Oldsmoblile Signs Through 2001

OLDSMOBILE EXTENDS IRL ENGINE AGREEMENT Oldsmobile to Supply IRL Aurora V8 Engines Through 2001 Detroit, Mich.; November 20, 1998 - Oldsmobile has extended its agreement to provide engines for the Pep Boys Indy Racing League by two...

OLDSMOBILE EXTENDS IRL ENGINE AGREEMENT

Oldsmobile to Supply IRL Aurora V8 Engines Through 2001

Detroit, Mich.; November 20, 1998 - Oldsmobile has extended its agreement to provide engines for the Pep Boys Indy Racing League by two years, assuring Oldsmobile's participation in the open-wheel racing series that includes the Indianapolis 500 through at least the year 2001. The original three-year agreement, which began in 1997 and would have expired at the end of the 1999 racing season, now becomes a five-year agreement.

The extension was announced by IRL Executive Director Leo Mehl at a press conference in Indianapolis on November 17. Mehl also announced several revisions to the IRL engine rules that will take effect in 2000, including a reduction in displacement to 3.5 liters and an optional 180-degree crankshaft design. Oldsmobile's IRL Aurora V8 has been the dominant engine in the Indy Racing League since the series introduced its new-generation naturally aspirated engines in January 1997. IRL Aurora V8 engines have won every race, won every pole, and won every championship for the past two years against competition from Nissan's Infiniti Indy engine.

"Oldsmobile is enthusiastic about the future of the Indy Racing League, and we are committed to continuing our marketing and engineering involvement in this exciting and growing area of sports," said Karen Francis, Oldsmobile general manager - marketing.

"Marketing studies indicate that the interest of sports fans in auto racing is growing faster than for any other sport, and that the Indianapolis 500 continues to be of more interest to more sports fans than any other single auto race," she said. "We believe that there is tremendous growth potential for the IRL series."

Oldsmobile's IRL Aurora V8 racing engine is based on the production 4.0-liter Aurora V8 that is available exclusively in the Aurora luxury performance sedan. As required by the IRL rules for 1999, the competition engine retains the production Aurora V8's basic "architecture." The two engines also share similar technology, including lightweight aluminum construction, dual overhead camshafts, multi-valve combustion chamber design, and advanced electronic engine management.

"The IRL's philosophy of using affordable yet technologically advanced racing engines is in harmony with GM's vision," Francis added. "Oldsmobile believes that it is important for engineers to have an opportunity to work on advanced racing engines that are similar in concept to production engines for both marketing opportunities and engineering feedback."

In contrast to the engine leasing programs that have been adopted in some open-wheel series, IRL teams can buy, sell, rebuild, and modify their engines. IRL regulations also require that all approved engines be readily available at a specified price ($83,000 in 1999). In this open market, the IRL Aurora V8's combination of performance, packaging, and proven reliability has made Oldsmobile the overwhelming choice of IRL teams.

GM Motorsports is responsible for the design and development of the IRL Aurora V8. Key components such as the engine block and cylinder heads carry factory part numbers, and are distributed through approved engine builders. GM specifies a basic engine package, but independent builders and IRL teams are free to experiment with different components and configurations within the limits of the IRL rules.

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Series IndyCar