IRL: Indy500 Aurora Report 98-05-11

OLDSMOBILE RACES FOR SECOND INDIANAPOLIS 500 VICTORY WITH PROVEN RELIABILITY AND IMPROVED PERFORMANCE IRL Aurora V8 Powers 96% of Indy 500 Entries in Second Season with 4.0-Liter Engine Formula ...

OLDSMOBILE RACES FOR SECOND INDIANAPOLIS 500 VICTORY WITH PROVEN RELIABILITY AND IMPROVED PERFORMANCE

IRL Aurora V8 Powers 96% of Indy 500 Entries in Second Season with 4.0-Liter Engine Formula

Indianapolis -- The Indy Racing League's new generation of 4.0-liter production-based engines was a major story in last year's Indianapolis 500 as manufacturers raced against the clock to meet the demand for new equipment. This year, as Pep Boys Indy Racing League teams prepare for the 82nd running of the Indianapolis 500 on May 24, Oldsmobile IRL Aurora V8 engines are plentiful, powerful, and reliable.

Oldsmobile's championship-winning IRL Aurora V8 returns to the Indianapolis Motor Speedway with a proven track record:

* Oldsmobile drivers have won ten straight races and completed 44,075 racing miles since the IRL's 4.0-liter engine formula debuted in January, 1997.

* In the first two rounds of the 1998 season, Oldsmobile engines had a 93 percent reliability record -- a level of reliability that rivals other major motorsports series.

* Upgrades in the IRL Aurora V8's camshafts, induction system, exhaust system, and engine calibration have produced a 30-horsepower gain over the Oldsmobile engines that swept the top 11 finishing positions in last year's Indianapolis 500.

Oldsmobile has emerged as the dominant engine manufacturer in the IRL series, with 96 percent of the entries for this year's Indy 500 using IRL Aurora V8s. Oldsmobile engines are readily available from nine independent builders, giving IRL teams equal access to powerplants with similar performance levels. This horsepower parity promises to produce flat-out, wheel-to-wheel competition at this year's edition of the "Greatest Spectacle in Racing."

"The number of Oldsmobile-powered cars has more than doubled since last year, and the teams are running their engines harder," said Joe Negri, manager of the GM Motorsports IRL/Road Racing Group. "The severity of the engines' duty cycles has increased significantly. The challenge now is to maintain the quality of the components that are required to service such a large number of engines in the field.

"With our development and validation program, we can simulate running the Indianapolis 500 on a computer-controlled engine dynamometer," Negri noted. "We run a complete 500-mile 'race' in the dyno cell regularly to test IRL Aurora V8 components before they are released to the engine builders. Every new part has to pass this test before it goes to the race track."

Oldsmobile's momentum on the race track mirrors the Division's success in the showroom. Deliveries of Oldsmobile vehicles in March increased 26 percent over the same period in 1997. Total sales are up 13.4 percent over the first four months of last year. Oldsmobile has also announced that a new 215-horsepower, 3.5-liter Twin Cam V6, which is derived from the Aurora V8, will be available in the Intrigue sports sedan in 1999.

"Oldsmobile has to take care of its customers in racing -- the teams that have chosen IRL Aurora V8 engines -- just as Oldsmobile retailers have to take care of their customers in sales and service," said Dennis Weglarz, Oldsmobile Specialty Vehicle manager. "IRL teams are free to use any approved engine, and the motors are interchangeable in the chassis. Oldsmobile does not have any factory teams or special deals. We have to earn the right to be in the race by producing powerful and reliable engines -- and then providing a high level of service to engine builders and teams."

Throughout the long history of the Indianapolis 500, there have been periods when one engine dominated the Speedway. In the Fifties, the famous Offenhauser was unchallenged; in the early Eighties, Cosworth engines powered virtually the entire field. Both eras are remembered as producing some of the greatest races in Indy 500 history. The omnipresent Oldsmobile IRL Aurora V8 could be the catalyst that produces another "Golden Age" of racing at Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

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