Mercedes-Benz To Run IC108E 'Phase III' in 1999 ontinuous Development Improves Champ Car Engine PLYMOUTH, Mich. (Feb. 8, 1999) -- Mercedes-Benz will compete with the IC108E 'Phase III' for the 1999 CART FedEx Championship Series.
Mercedes-Benz To Run IC108E 'Phase III' in 1999 ontinuous Development Improves Champ Car Engine
PLYMOUTH, Mich. (Feb. 8, 1999) -- Mercedes-Benz will compete with the IC108E 'Phase III' for the 1999 CART FedEx Championship Series. The 'Phase III' features improvements made to the power plant beginning last year and continuing through winter testing. "When we introduced the IC108E last year, we knew the design was so dramatically new and unique that there would be ongoing development of the engine over more than just one racing season," said Paul Ray, vice president of Ilmor Engineering, the race-engine design and manufacturing arm of Mercedes-Benz. "Specifically for 1999, we beefed up the engine block and strengthened some of the internal parts of the engine, all in the name of improved reliability. At the same time we continued to strive for increased performance through some changes to the cylinder head configuration and several other parts." The 'Phase III' is also known as the 'E3' for short, is an evolutionary development of the small and light IC108E that powered six pole positions and two race wins in 1998. "During off-season testing we advanced through what we were calling the Phase II engine to the 'Phase III,'" said Ray. "Visually, the 'E3' is virtually unchanged from last year's engine, but there are many internal changes." "Our goal this season is to power one of our drivers to the series championship," said Hal Whiteford, vice president of operations for Mercedes-Benz of North America "After that, we want to win the CART Manufacturer's Championship. "The development represented in the 'E3' should help us accomplish those goals." The engine will power five teams with seven drivers in 1999, including Marlboro Team Penske with Al Unser Jr., PacWest Racing with Mark Blundell and Mauricio Gugelmin, Player's/Forsythe Racing with Greg Moore and Patrick Carpentier, Hogan Racing with Helio Castro-Neves and Bettenhausen Racing (driver to be announced).