FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE AURORA V8 SWEEPS IMSA WORLD SPORTS CAR CHAMPIONSHIPS Taylor Takes WSC Drivers Championship; Oldsmobile Wins WSC Manufacturers Title Daytona Beach, Fla.; October 6, 1996 -- ...
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
AURORA V8 SWEEPS IMSA WORLD SPORTS CAR CHAMPIONSHIPS
Taylor Takes WSC Drivers Championship; Oldsmobile Wins WSC Manufacturers Title
Daytona Beach, Fla.; October 6, 1996 -- Oldsmobile's advanced Aurora V8 swept the IMSA Exxon World SportsCar Drivers and Manufacturers Championships today at Daytona International Speedway in the season finale of the ten-race IMSA road racing series.
Wayne Taylor, the inaugural WSC champion in 1994, wrapped up his second WSC title when he took the green flag with Doyle Racing's Oldsmobile Riley & Scott Mk-III at the start of the three-hour race. A third-place finish by Taylor and co-driver Jim Pace sewed up a second WSC Manufacturers Championship for Oldsmobile, which captured its first WSC title in 1994. Oldsmobile and Ferrari were tied in the final standings with 227 points each; Olds won the tie-breaker with four victories to three for Ferrari.
"It's very special to win two championships in three years," said Taylor, who scored four victories in 1996. "It's going to take some time to sink in. It's been a great year for Doyle Racing and the Riley & Scott team. They never give up, and this championship is as much theirs as it is mine."
The race for the manufacturers title was decided in the closing laps of the contest, which was run in weather conditions that ranged from overcast skies to tropical downpours. The Riley & Scott team entered a pair of identical Aurora-powered Mk-III's to blunt the numerical superiority of the Ferraris. This two-car "insurance policy" paid off when Taylor's car retired after 15 laps with an electrical problem. Taylor then switched to Pace's car, which had previously won the Daytona 24-hour and Sebring 12-hour events. He completed 85 circuits of the 3.56-mile road/speedway circuit and finished on the lead lap behind winners Butch Leitzinger and John Paul, Jr. and the second-place Theys/Jackson/Papis Ferrari.
"They made us work for that one!" exclaimed crew chief Mark Scott. "It took two drivers and two cars, but we achieved our goal of winning the Manufacturers Championship for Oldsmobile."
Irv Hoerr and Jon Gooding drove Brix Racing's Aurora to a runner-up finish in the Exxon Supreme GTS-1 division at Daytona. Hoerr had already clinched his second straight GTS-1 title at the preceding race in Dallas, and Olds had already wrapped up the manufacturers championship. The Brix Racing team finished the season with a near-perfect record of eight wins and two runners-up in ten events.
"It's fantastic to win the WSC and GTS-1 championships twice in three years," said Oldsmobile Specialty Vehicle Manager Dennis Weglarz. "The Riley & Scott and Brix Racing teams did an outstanding job, sweeping both series with the Motorsport Aurora V8 in only its second year in international competition."
Oldsmobile's Motorsport Aurora V8 will be back in action at the Indy 200 at Walt Disney World in Orlando, Fla., on January 25, 1997 -- the first race to be contested under the Indy Racing League's new 4.0-liter naturally aspirated engine formula.
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E-mail from: Rick Voegelin, 06-Oct-1996