THE OLDSMOBILE UPDATE
Sunday, June 16, 1996; 3:00 a.m.
12 HOUR REPORT: THE END OF THE ODYSSEY
"That's it, boys. We're done."
As crew chief Mark Scott spoke these words at 3:00 a.m., Riley & Scott's quest for the Triple Crown came to an end. Exactly 12 hours after the 24 Hours of Le Mans had begun, the Doyle Racing Oldsmobile Riley & Scott Mk-III was withdrawn from competition.
Driver Jim Pace felt a problem as the car passed by the pit straight. By the time he reached the second chicane on the Mulsanne Straight -- the farthest point from the pits -- the gearbox was in terminal condition.
"Transmission failure can happen anywhere," Scott noted. "Unfortunately, there was apparently extensive damage to the gearbox, and it happened at the worst possible place on the track. There was nothing that Jim could do to get the car home. He made a valiant effort.
"For the part of the race we were in, it was really tough," said Scott. "This was the most competitive event at Le Mans in years, and we were proud to be a part of it. We learned a huge amount. The Aurora engine stood its ground, and the Pirelli tires gave us an advantage. If we get to come back next year, we'll be a lot better."
Lead driver Wayne Taylor was resting when he heard the news. "Of course I'm disappointed," said Taylor, "but the team and everyone who made it possible for us to come to Le Mans did a fantastic job. We've already had a very successful year, winning Daytona, Sebring and Texas, and being tied for the IMSA championship. I can't feel bad about coming to Le Mans and running as competitively as we did. We'll be back next year -- and I'm already looking forward to it."
The Riley & Scott team will return to the U.S. for the seventh round of the IMSA Exxon World SportsCar championship in Sonoma, Calif., on July 14.
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