Daytona Aurora preview

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE AURORA RACERS AIM TO SWEEP WORLD SPORTSCAR CHAMPIONSHIPS IN IMSA SEASON FINALE Daytona Beach, Fla. -- With the IMSA Exxon Supreme GTS-1 Drivers and Manufacturers Championships already in...



Daytona Beach, Fla. -- With the IMSA Exxon Supreme GTS-1 Drivers and Manufacturers Championships already in hand, Oldsmobile's team of Aurora road racers can sweep the Exxon World SportsCar Championship titles in the IMSA season finale at Daytona International Speedway on October 6.

Wayne Taylor, lead driver of the Doyle Racing Oldsmobile Riley & Scott Mk-III, will be on a mission at the fast 3.56-mile Daytona road/speedway circuit. With a virtually insurmountable 31-point lead over Ferrari driver Max Papis, Taylor can clinch his second WSC Drivers Championship by simply taking the green flag at the start of the three-hour contest.

After nine hard-fought rounds in the ten-race series, Oldsmobile has a narrow two-point lead over Ferrari in the race for the WSC Manufacturers Championship. Taylor can wrap up Olds' second WSC title by finishing ahead of the highest-placed Ferrari. If the two marques finish in a tie, Olds will claim the crown with four wins to three for Ferrari.

"As the lone Oldsmobile Aurora team, the pressure has been on all year," said Taylor, winner of the inaugural WSC championship in 1994. "Now the pressure is greater than ever because it's important for everyone associated with this organization to take the Manufacturers Championship. With just a two-point lead over Ferrari going into the final race, it doesn't get any more intense or exciting!"

Although always outnumbered by the Ferraris, Taylor and the Riley & Scott team have never been outgunned. Oldsmobile's 4.0-liter 32-valve Motorsport Aurora V8 was a winner in its WSC competition debut in the season-opening Daytona 24-hour endurance race. Taylor and a talented team of co-drivers also scored victories in Sebring, Texas, and California with the production-based Aurora V8.

In contrast to the fierce battle in the WSC division, the Aurora V8 has utterly dominated the GTS-1 class. Brix Racing's team of Aurora racers has posted eight wins in nine starts -- including a streak of seven straight. Irv Hoerr clinched the GTS-1 Manufacturers Championship for Oldsmobile at Mosport, and then sewed up his sixth career IMSA championship with a runner-up finish (to teammate Darin Brassfield) on the streets of downtown Dallas.

"We're going to let it all hang out at Daytona," said Hoerr. "It's the last race of the season, so we're going to turn up the engines and run 'em hard. We've refined the aerodynamics of the Aurora bodies, and we plan to go as fast as we can. We're going to have a little fun!"

It won't be all fun and games for Brix Racing at Daytona, however. The team's top priority is to ensure a 1-2 finish in the GTS-1 points standings for Hoerr and Brassfield, who enjoys a 15-point advantage over Charles Morgan coming into the Daytona finale. The two teammates will tune up for the GTS-1 finale by driving a Pontiac Firebird in a three-hour IMSA Endurance Championship race on Saturday afternoon.

Hoerr and Brassfield will be reunited with co-drivers Jon Gooding and Brian Cunningham in Brix Racing's twin GTS-1 Auroras at Daytona. Gooding was a member of the winning Aurora team at the Daytona 24-hour; Cunningham, grandson of road racing pioneer Briggs Cunningham, scored his first IMSA win at Watkins Glen and posted three fastest laps this season.

"Jon Gooding and Brian Cunningham will start the race," explains Hoerr, who does double-duty as driver and team manager. "Then Brassfield will choose which car he gets into. Our goal is to make sure that Darin completes the required 70 percent of the laps and scores as many points as possible."

Eight months ago at Daytona, Oldsmobile began the season with a radical new body design and an unproven new 4.0-liter Aurora racing engine. The Aurora V8 become the first American engine in 30 years to sweep the Daytona and Sebring endurance races, and posted a dozen victories in IMSA road racing competition. Regardless of the outcome of the final shootout at Daytona International Speedway, 1996 has been a vintage year for Oldsmobile and the advanced Aurora V8.

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E-mail from: Rick Voegelin, 30-Sep-1996

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Series IMSA Others
Drivers Max Papis , Wayne Taylor , Charles Morgan , Brian Cunningham , Darin Brassfield