Phoenix; November 15, 1996 -- Oldsmobile's new Indy Aurora V8 successfully completed a three-day track test at Phoenix International Raceway on November 13-15. Driver Arie Luyendyk, winner of the 1990 Indianapolis 500, ran 153 miles on the PIR one-mile oval in the first test of both the new Indy Racing League version of Oldsmobile's production-based 4.0-liter Aurora V8 and Treadway Racing's new G-Force IRL chassis.

The Indy Aurora V8 made its on-track debut just 314 days after the announcement that Oldsmobile would design and develop a naturally aspirated engine to compete in the IRL series in celebration of the Division's 100th birthday in 1997.

"The results of the three-day test were extremely encouraging," commented Ed Keating, GM Motorsports IRL program manager. "We experienced the kind of minor problems with accessories and packaging that are associated with any brand-new engine, but the performance of the major systems exceeded our expectations. Arie ran reasonable speeds and provided valuable input for our development program."

"It's a good start," said Luyendyk. "We didn't have anything go wrong mechanically . . . just little things that are to be expected. The package came together better than people thought, and it's a step in the right direction as far as containing speeds and maintaining safety."

"We came here with a new chassis and a new motor that had never been run in the car," added Treadway Racing team manager Buddy Lindblom. "Overall, I give it an 'A'."

Following the successful completion of the Phoenix test session, a second Indy Aurora V8 was shipped to Team Scandia for installation in the new Dallara IRL chassis. Indy Aurora V8 components are being delivered concurrently to engine builders designated by IRL teams.

Trackside observers were impressed by the roar of the Aurora V8 -- a distinct departure from the whine of turbocharged engines heard recently in Indy car racing. "It was music to my ears," said Tony George, president of the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

The new Indy Aurora V8 is based on the production 4.0-liter, 32-valve DOHC Aurora V8 that is available exclusively in Oldsmobile's flagship luxury performance sedan. The Indy Aurora V8 will make its competition debut at the Indy 200 at Walt Disney World in Orlando, Fla., on January 25, 1997.

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E-mail from: Rick Voegelin, 18-Nov-1996