CHAMPCAR/CART: Magneti Marelli joins Mercedes

CART Online (October 2) -- Just as Mercedes-Benz's three-pointed star has adorned championship-winning racing cars for more than a century, Magneti Marelli's distinctive mark has appeared in victory lanes around the world for decades. Starting...

CART Online (October 2) -- Just as Mercedes-Benz's three-pointed star has adorned championship-winning racing cars for more than a century, Magneti Marelli's distinctive mark has appeared in victory lanes around the world for decades.

Starting in 1998, all Mercedes-powered entries in the PPG CART World Series will carry both of these racing icons, as the Italian electronics and automotive technology company becomes the exclusive engine control and fuel system supplier to the Mercedes-Benz CART program.

"An engine built from the finest materials in the world cannot run without the proper electronics," said Paul Ray, vice president, Ilmor Engineering, the race engine-building arm of Mercedes. "Having Magneti Marelli as a technical partner on the Mercedes-Benz CART program is a significant step forward. We must always look for ways to remain on top in this series, and Magneti Marelli offers us the finest electronics systems in the world."

"Having the right partners -- both in terms of technology and teams -- was a key factor in Mercedes-Benz's winning eight races and the CART Manufacturer's Championship this season," said Hal Whiteford, vice president, Mercedes-Benz of North America. "For 1998, we've added the strength of Magneti Marelli, a company that includes three Formula One World Champion teams (Ferrari, Benetton and Williams) among its customers and is known worldwide as a technology leader. This relationship is another step towards a successful defense of our championship title."

A supplier of automotive technology to passenger car manufacturers around the world, including Mercedes-Benz in Europe and American manufacturers such as Chrysler, General Motors, Ford and Harley-Davidson, Magneti Marelli's products include a wide variety of original equipment and aftermarket parts.

"Magneti Marelli is eager to introduce its products to the U.S. market," said Giancarlo De Angelis, technical manager for the 78-year-old company's racing department. "Associating our brand with Mercedes-Benz, one of the most serious advanced-technology companies in the world, in CART, one of the most popular championships in the world, delivers a very strong message about who we are and what we do. Teaming with Mercedes in this way also offers Magneti Marelli an exciting new platform for doing additional business in North and South America."

In addition to its headquarters in Milan, Italy, Magneti Marelli has plants in 16 countries in Europe, South America, the Far East and two sites in the United States: Detroit and Sanford, N.C.

Magneti Marelli will supply the three "black boxes" (engine control module, alternator control box, data logger) to the Mercedes-powered teams, in addition to ignition coils, alternators and steering wheels (with data display) and will support the program with trackside technical support.

"The products Magneti Marelli will be supplying to us are the best equipment available and represent state-of-the-art technology," said Ray. "It is very closely related to their Formula One system, and Marelli's record in Grand Prix competition speaks for itself.

"The forward-looking, inventive and cooperative nature of Magneti Marelli as a company and the high quality of the individuals that work there played the largest part in our decision," said Ray. "We had already worked with them, in the early days of Mercedes' return to F1 with the Sauber team, and we needed only a short time with them to realize that this was the same pro-active, innovative and cooperative group we knew from four years ago."

Founded in 1919, Magneti Marelli designs, develops and manufactures automotive components worldwide and invests approximately 13% of its revenues in research and development and new technology. With combined worldwide sales of more than $3.8 billion, Magneti Marelli products include a wide variety of nearly 30 corporate brand names and trademarks. Their major product lines include engine control systems, instrument panels, lighting, fuel delivery systems, mirrors, exhaust systems, mechanical and electronic components and lubricants.

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Series IndyCar
Teams Sauber , Williams