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BUICK TO FOCUS MOTORSPORTS EFFORTS ON INDY LIGHTS SERIES

 BUICK TO FOCUS MOTORSPORTS EFFORTS ON INDY LIGHTS SERIES
 FLINT, Mich., Sept. 29 /PRNewswire/ -- Buick Motor Division has


announced it will concentrate its motorsports efforts on the Firestone Indy Lights Championship racing series presented by PPG and end its engine and chassis development program at the Indianapolis 500.
 Buick General Manager Edward H. Mertz said Buick returned to the Indianapolis 500 in the mid-1980s to showcase its V-6 technology.
 "Our goal was to emphasize that we are unique by using stock-block racing engines based on our production engines," said Mertz. "Over the years, however, we have seen the turbocharged Indy Buick V-6 engine become more specialized and move farther away from the nature of the production engine."
 He noted that Buick has gained much from racing at Indianapolis including the development of engine management systems and improved valvetrain dynamics. "The situation is approaching a point now where we probably learn more from our Indy Lights racing experience than from our annual trip to Indianapolis."
 Many of the marketing and technical missions of the Buick Indy V-6 engine program, according to Mertz, have been accomplished. "As we move forward, we will continue these activities with the Buick V-6 in Indy Lights."
 "We have long embraced a 'race what we sell' philosophy at Buick," explained James C. Markwalder, Buick Motorsports Marketing manager. "We translate much of what we learn from the racetrack into better cars. With Indy Lights not only are the V-6 engines more closely related to the production engine, but we receive valuable feedback throughout the whole 12-race annual schedule rather than just after the month of May in Indianapolis."
 Buick's active role at Indianapolis began in 1909, Indianapolis Motor Speedway's inaugural year, and two years before the first Indianapolis 500. Buick won several races there that year, including a major 250-mile event.
 In the modern era, two Buick-powered cars entered the 1984 event. In 1985, the two Buick-powered cars entered did so well that one, driven by Pancho Carter, won the pole position with a four-lap stock-block record of 212.583 mph, and the other, driven by Scott Brayton, lined up second and set a one-lap record of 214.199 mph.
 Veteran driver Gary Bettenhausen was the fastest qualifier at 224.635 mph for the 75th Indianapolis 500 in 1991.
 Twelve of the 33 qualifying cars for the 1992 Indianapolis 500 were powered by Buick V-6 engines. Buick pilot Roberto Guerrero won the pole with a record-breaking 232.482 mph. Al Unser Sr., driving a Buick- powered car, finished third.
 Firestone Indy Lights, formerly known as the American Racing Series, was created in 1986 as a development racing series. In addition to being a very competitive series which continues to attract fans, Indy Lights also helps prepare young drivers for advancement into IndyCar racing. Next year the Indy Lights series will feature a newly designed racing chassis more closely based on current IndyCar equipment.
 The 425-horsepower Buick V-6 engine used in the Indy Lights racing series and the 750-horsepower turbocharged Buick V-6 engine raced at Indianapolis are both based on production V-6 engines found in Buick passenger cars. The engine used in Indy Lights racing is not turbocharged and is more similar to current production engine technology.
 -0- 9/29/92
 /CONTACT: Mark Rollinson of Buick Public Relations, 313-236-1415/
 (GM) CO: Buick Motor Division ST: Michigan IN: AUT SU:


DH-JG -- DE027 -- 4439 09/29/92 14:15 EDT
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Copyright 1992 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

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Publication:PR Newswire
Date:Sep 29, 1992
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