IRL: Indy500: Bravada paces Indy 500

DETROIT, March 8, 2001 - Oldsmobile's 2002 Bravada will go where no SUV has gone before when it paces the 85th running of the Indianapolis 500 on May 27, 2001. The all-new Bravada is the first Sport Utility Vehicle selected as the Official Pace ...

DETROIT, March 8, 2001 - Oldsmobile's 2002 Bravada will go where no SUV has gone before when it paces the 85th running of the Indianapolis 500 on May 27, 2001. The all-new Bravada is the first Sport Utility Vehicle selected as the Official Pace Vehicle of the Indy 500.

"The all-new Bravada takes the SUV to a new level of power, comfort, and driver control," said Jim Vurpillat, brand manager for Oldsmobile Bravada, at the unveiling of the Official Pace Vehicle today. "It is a ground-breaking vehicle that can handle daily driving, off-roading, and even the Indianapolis Motor Speedway."

"The Bravada joins a long line of firsts at Indy as the first SUV to pace the Indianapolis 500," said Tony George, president and CEO of the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. "The Bravada certainly fits with the 52-year tradition of Oldsmobile at the Brickyard."

This year's edition of the "Greatest Spectacle in Racing" will mark the 11th time since 1949 that an Oldsmobile has paced the Indy 500. The Bravada will be the first Oldsmobile Pace Vehicle powered by a six-cylinder engine - the new Vortec 4200.

"The new 270-horsepower Vortec 4200 inline six provides the advantages of smoothness and power found in premium luxury and performance sedans," said Vurpillat. "We are offering customers the power of a V8 with the fuel economy of a six-cylinder engine. The Vortec 4200 beats the competition hands-down in acceleration, power, and torque."

Like the IRL Aurora V8 racing engine that has won the Indianapolis 500 four straight years, the Vortec 4200 uses all-aluminum construction to reduce weight and four-valve cylinder heads with dual overhead camshafts to enhance performance. The Vortec 4200 is the first GM engine in North America to employ variable exhaust valve timing, a sophisticated feature that delivers a smooth idle and excellent power and torque across the engine's operating range. It is the exclusive powerplant of Oldsmobile's new midsize SUV.

"The cars that compete in the Indy 500 are finely tuned machines built for a single purpose - to run as fast as possible on a 2.5-mile superspeedway," Vurpillat noted. "The new Bravada chassis and suspension are just as carefully engineered to deliver the best of both worlds in comfort and vehicle dynamics."

The new Bravada's frame features full-length hydroformed side rails - a technology pioneered by GM in 1997 - that increase torsional rigidity by 260 percent compared to the previous model. An electronically controlled air suspension system and rack-and-pinion steering produce a refined, responsive ride.

Oldsmobile has been making history at the Brickyard for decades. The 1949 Oldsmobile 88 Pace Car was powered by the Rocket V8, a high-compression overhead valve V8 that won accolades from performance enthusiasts and stock car racers. In the '70s, Oldsmobile paced the prestigious race with a series of 442 and Hurst/Oldsmobile muscle cars powered by 455ci Rocket V8s. As times and technology changed, Oldsmobile showcased its Quad 4 at the Speedway in the '80s. Oldsmobile raced, paced, and won with the new Aurora V8 in 1997, and repeated that performance last year with the new 2001 Aurora sedan.

The Indianapolis Motor Speedway was conceived as a proving ground for automobile manufacturers. On Memorial Day weekend, Oldsmobile will prove that the capable new Bravada SUV can take on the most famous oval in auto racing.

- Rick Voegelin

Write a comment
Show comments
About this article
Series IndyCar
Drivers Tony George