CHAMPCAR/CART: Mercedes PR

From Mercedes-Benz Racing Mercedes-Benz Racing: The Democracy of Performance MONTVALE, N.J. (August 20, 1997) -- All Mercedes-Benz race engines are created equal, and none is more equal than any other. In all but one of the...

From Mercedes-Benz Racing

Mercedes-Benz Racing: The Democracy of Performance

MONTVALE, N.J. (August 20, 1997) -- All Mercedes-Benz race engines are created equal, and none is more equal than any other. In all but one of the seven instances when the three-pointed star visited a CART PPG World Series victory lane this season, and each of the five times that a Mercedes-powered car qualified on the pole, a different IC108D engine provided the power. "Sixty-five Mercedes-Benz Indy car engines have been produced this season," said Paul Ray, vice president of Ilmor Engineering, the race engine-building arm of Mercedes-Benz. "And some of those engines have been re-built as many as seven or eight times by this point in the year. But all of the parts are manufactured -- and each of the engines built and re-built -- to very precise specifications and very stringent quality control measures. That's why we know, whenever a Mercedes-Benz is bolted into a race car, it's a potential winner."

The One Percent Rule The 4000-plus parts that make up each Mercedes-Benz IC108D engine are manufactured by Ilmor at its state-of-the-art facility in Brixworth, England -- about an hour's drive north of London -- and by a select group of suppliers from around the world. These parts are then shipped in kit form to the two shops which assemble Mercedes-Benz Indy car engines: VDS Racing in Midland, Texas, and Penske Racing in Reading, Pa. Despite the thousands of miles that separate each of these locations and the fact that different personnel assemble and re-build engines for each of the Mercedes-powered teams, remarkable consistency and performance parity is maintained from engine to engine and re-build to re-build. The One Percent Rule requires that each Mercedes engine, when it is tested on the dynamometer after assembly, produce performance numbers that vary by no more than one percent from every other IC108D engine. "Large performance variations are unacceptable," explained Ray. "Each of our teams is a partner and, as such, has a right to expect the same level of performance that all of our other partners have. If an engine fails to supply the appropriate power when it's tested --which does occasionally happen --then we know something is wrong. We tear it apart, find the problem and build it up again. It is the sophistication of the machinery and skill of the staff in Brixworth, as well as the dedication and care of the engine builders here in the States, that allow us to maintain such exceptionally high standards and give our partners the assurances of parity they need."

The Depth of the Team With seven wins and five pole positions, Mercedes-powered cars have finished second or better in 16 of the last 17 races. Consistency among hardware is only one of the reasons Mercedes-Benz has led the CART manufacturer's championship since May. The depth of each race team combined with exceptional driving talent on the seven-man squad is another.

With 14 (of 17) races of the PPG CART World Series season complete, three Mercedes-Benz drivers have won multiple races (Paul Tracy, Marlboro Team Penske, 3 wins; Greg Moore, Player's Forsythe Racing, 2 wins; Mark Blundell, PacWest Racing, 2 wins), six of the seven have posted top-three finishes (Mauricio Gugelmin, PacWest Racing; Al Unser Jr., Marlboro Team Penske; Patrick Carpentier, Team Alumax/Bettenhausen; Tracy; Moore and Blundell), and three have qualified on pole (Tracy, Gugelmin and Dario Franchitti, Hogan Racing). The Mercedes six-race win streak in mid-season is also the longest engine victory string in the ultra-competitive CART series since 1991. Whether they be racing drivers, engine builders or any other member of the team, the strength of the Mercedes-Benz Motorsport Team, like any democracy, lies with its people. Great people have been building, racing and winning with Mercedes-Benz engines around the globe since the first auto race was held in 1894.

No Such Thing as a Lucky Engine

In all but one of Mercedes-Benz's seven PPG Cup victories this season, a different IC108D engine powered the winning car, and in each of the five instances that a Mercedes-powered car qualified on the pole, a different engine provided the motivation.

Mercedes-Benz 1997 CART wins Race Driver /Team Engine# Build # 1.) Nazareth P. Tracy / Marlboro Team Penske 19 5 2.) Rio P. Tracy / Marlboro Team Penske 24 1 3.) St. Louis P. Tracy / Marlboro Team Penske 24 3 4.) Milwaukee G. Moore / Player's Forsythe Racing 32 3 5.) Detroit G. Moore / Player's Forsythe Racing 30 3 6.) Portland M. Blundell / Motorola PacWest Racing 40 6 7.) Toronto M. Blundell / Motorola PacWest Racing 46 6

Mercedes-Benz 1997 CART Poles Race Driver / Team Engine# Build # 1.) Nazareth P. Tracy / Marlboro Team Penske 27 1 2.) Rio M. Gugelmin / Hollywood PacWest Racing 03 6 3.) Milwaukee P. Tracy / Marlboro Team Penske 22 5 4.) Toronto D. Franchitti / Hogan Racing 65 2 5.) Elkhart Lake M. Gugelmin / Hollywood PacWest Racing 57 5

This Week in Mercedes-Benz Sporting History

August 22, 1954 Juan Manuel Fangio wins the Swiss Grand Prix at Berne to secure the world driving championship driving the Mercedes W196. The win also secures the first of two consecutive manufacturer's world championships for Mercedes-Benz.

Sept. 3, 1995 Al Unser Jr. wins at Vancouver, his fourth CART win of the year, and the fifth win of the year for Mercedes-Benz in their first full season of modern-day Indy car racing. Mercedes-Benz would win six races in 1995.

# # # SM082097/41

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About this article
Series IndyCar
Drivers Al Unser Jr. , Patrick Carpentier , Paul Tracy , Dario Franchitti , Mauricio Gugelmin , Mark Blundell , Juan Manuel Fangio , Greg Moore
Teams Team Penske , Team Penske