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OLDSMOBILE AURORA V8 TO RACE IN 1997 INDIANAPOLIS 500

DETROIT, Jan. 4 /PRNewswire/ -- Oldsmobile General Manager John Rock announced today that Oldsmobile will design and develop a racing version of the advanced Aurora V8 to compete in the Indy Racing League in 1997. The new 4.0-liter Aurora V8, which will race at the Indianapolis 500, is based on the production DOHC 32-valve V8 that is available exclusively in Oldsmobile's Aurora luxury performance sedan.

"There's no better way to mark the beginning of Oldsmobile's second 100 years in 1997 than to showcase the Aurora V8 at the Indianapolis 500, the most prestigious auto race in the world," said Rock. "Oldsmobile welcomes the challenge of competing head-to-head with an international field of auto manufacturers under the rules recently announced by the Indy Racing League."

Oldsmobile's entry into the Indy car arena will spotlight the world-class technology of the Aurora V8. "We've beaten perennial road racing powerhouses like Porsche and Nissan on their own turf in IMSA," Rock noted. "Oldsmobiles have paced the Indy 500 eight times since 1949, but an Oldsmobile has never won there. Now we're going after the biggest prize in auto racing.

"We hope that other manufacturers will follow Oldsmobile's lead and bring their best engines to Indy," he added.

"We welcome Oldsmobile and the Aurora V8 to the ultimate proving ground, Indianapolis car racing," said Jack Long, executive director of the Indy Racing League series, which includes the Indianapolis 500.

"The objective of the IRL and the Indianapolis Motor Speedway has been to reestablish the relationship between Indy racing and the leading-edge technology of passenger car manufacturers," Long commented. "Oldsmobile is the first company to step up to this challenge."

The Aurora V8 established its performance credentials in the 1995 IMSA Exxon Supreme GT road racing series, where it swept the GTS-1 Manufacturers and Drivers Championships in its "rookie" season. Oldsmobile will continue to compete in the IMSA World Sports Car and Supreme GT series with the Aurora V8 while developing a new engine package specifically for Indy car competition.

"The Aurora's sophisticated V8 powertrain gives it a strong competitive advantage in the marketplace," commented John Gatt, Aurora brand manager. "The characteristics that set the Aurora V8 apart on the highway -- power on demand, swift acceleration, exceptional smoothness, and excellent fuel efficiency -- are the same features that will appeal to serious racing teams. Like Oldsmobile customers, Indy car racers demand better. We believe the Aurora V8 will exceed their expectations, while also providing exciting marketing opportunities for Oldsmobile retailers."

The Aurora V8 that will race in the 1997 Indy 500 will share its basic design with the production version. As required by the IRL rules, the competition engine will retain the standard Aurora V8's cylinder bore spacing, 90-degree bank angle, and camshaft drive system. The street and racing versions will share numerous technical features, including dual overhead camshafts, four valves per cylinder, and sequential electronic fuel injection.

"Oldsmobile will supply the major components -- the block, cylinder heads, and dry-sump casting -- that define the Aurora V8's fundamental design," explained Oldsmobile Advanced Concepts engineer Dennis Weglarz. "IRL teams will be free to choose other components such as crankshafts, camshafts, and pistons from aftermarket suppliers to complete the assembly.

"This is the same strategy that proved successful in NHRA drag racing, where the Oldsmobile DRCE engine became the dominant powerplant in Pro Stock," Weglarz added. "In fact, Motorsport Aurora V8 components are already available to IMSA road racing teams through franchised GM dealers."

The Aurora V8 has already made motorsports history. In December 1992, the Oldsmobile Aerotech engineering research vehicle broke 47 speed and endurance records with a production 4.0-liter Aurora V8. The Aurora is also winning in the showroom, outselling the Mercedes E Class, BMW 5-series, Lexus LS 400, Infiniti Q45, and Acura Legend.
 -0- 1/4/96


/EDITORS' ADVISORY: Photo accompanying this release will be available on AP PhotoExpress Network. Also, a free photo to accompany this story will be available via Wieck Photo Database to any media with telephoto receiver or electronic darkroom, PC or Macintosh, that can accept overhead transmissions. To retrieve a photo, please call 214-392-0888. PRNewsFotos also are available via PressLink. Please call 703-758-1740 for additional information./

/CONTACT: Gus Buenz, 517-377-4430, Pete Ternes, 517-377-6287, or Rick Voegelin, 408-761-2201, all of Oldsmobile/

(GM)

CO: Oldsmobile ST: Michigan IN: AUT SU:

TW -- DETH006 -- 0798 01/04/96 09:07 EST
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Publication:PR Newswire
Date:Jan 4, 1996
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