FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
NEW INDY AURORA V8 COMPLETES PRE-SEASON TESTS
Orlando, Fla.; December 23, 1996 -- As the final countdown to the launch of the Indy Racing League's new 1997 engine/chassis formula begins, Oldsmobile's 4.0-liter Indy Aurora V8 is on track for its competition debut at Walt Disney World Speedway in Orlando, Fla., on January 25. Nine drivers representing eight IRL teams logged a total of 1945 miles with the Indy Aurora V8 in pre-season tests in Orlando and Phoenix.
The production-based DOHC Indy Aurora V8 was tested in the IRL's new G Force and Dallara chassis. Scott Goodyear topped the speed chart at 168.145 mph in Treadway Racing's G Force/Aurora at Walt Disney World Speedway. Scott Sharp was the fastest Dallara driver in the first round of tests, lapping the Orlando oval at 164.835 mph in A.J. Foyt Enterprise's Aurora-powered Indy car.
The roster of Aurora test drivers also included Arie Luyendyk (Treadway Racing/G Force), Eliseo Salazar (Team Scandia/Dallara), Tony Stewart (Team Menard/G Force), Davy Jones (Galles Racing/G Force), John Paul, Jr. (PDM Racing/Dallara), Buzz Calkins (Bradley Motorsports/G Force), and Eddie Cheever (FirstPlus Team Cheever/G Force).
"I'm ecstatic!" declared 1996 IRL co-champion Scott Sharp after his first experience with the new generation of Indy cars. "There were a lot of questions about the new chassis and engines, but I'm thrilled with the package. The cars are very driveable and agile. I think that's going to boost the drivers' confidence, and produce very competitive racing.
"I could really feel the power of the Indy Aurora V8," added Sharp, who drove the IMSA road racing version of the Motorsport Aurora V8 to victory in last year's Daytona 24-hour endurance race. "The sound is terrific at high rpm. I can hardly wait to hear 20 of them on the race track."
The pre-holiday track tests marked another milestone in the Indy Aurora V8's accelerated development cycle. The program was announced on January 4, 1996; the first engine was dyno tested on September 20, and the first track test took place on November 13.
"At this point we have concluded our initial development testing, and received valuable feedback from all of the teams," commented GM Motorsports engineer Ed Keating, program manager for the IRL Aurora V8. "The results have been very encouraging. We believe the basic engine design is sound, and we've successfully completed a 200-mile race distance. The problems that turned up in testing were primarily with auxiliary parts such as pumps and alternators. We are focusing on solutions to those problems before the next round of track tests begins on January 6.
"The most exciting part of the program is that IRL teams have now run engines from four Indy Aurora V8 suppliers -- Katech, Menard, Rocketsports, and Roush," Keating commented. "We are receiving a tremendous amount of information from these knowledgeable sources that will contribute to the continuous improvement of the Indy Aurora V8."
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E-mail from: Rick Voegelin, 24-Dec-1996