CHAMPCAR/CART: Penske Picks Honda for Next Season

Penske Picks Honda for Next Season Moore, de Ferran to test new engine/chassis combination. by Bob Judd Marlboro Team Penske announced late Monday afternoon that it is switching from Mercedes to Honda next year. One of the most storied and...

Penske Picks Honda for Next Season

Moore, de Ferran to test new engine/chassis combination.

by Bob Judd

Marlboro Team Penske announced late Monday afternoon that it is switching from Mercedes to Honda next year. One of the most storied and successful teams in racing, Marlboro Team Penske has been struggling for the past two seasons.

Earlier this season, Roger Penske announced he was letting his veteran driver Al Unser Jr. go, and had hired Greg Moore and Gil de Ferran for next year. Then came the announcement that the Penske chassis would give way to the Reynard chassis that has dominated the FedEx championship since 1995.

Team Marlboro and Little Al won Indy 500 1994 with a Mercedes Penske. Those 1,000-horsepower "stock blocks" were Mercedes' first official venture into CART. Marlboro Penske also won the championship that year, although the engine was badged Ilmor.

Roger Penske jointly owns Ilmor with Mercedes and Ilmor partners Mario Illen and Paul Morgan. So the switch to Honda can't have been made lightly. The latest generation of Mercedes CART engines is a marvel of compact engineering, visibly smaller than engines from rivals Honda and Ford. But the drivers have complained that it is hard to drive on road courses.

Gil de Ferran and Greg Moore will be testing and developing the new Honda-powered Reynard chassis after the 1999 season ends at Fontana at the end of this month.

CART

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About this article
Series IndyCar
Drivers Al Unser Jr. , Gil de Ferran , Roger Penske , Greg Moore , Paul Morgan
Teams Team Penske