Oldsmobile Updates IRL Aurora V8 For Inaugural Kentucky Speedway Race
GM Racing Releases Optimized Components as Competition for Indy Racing League Championships Intensifies DETROIT - Drivers using Oldsmobile IRL Aurora V8 racing engines will have more mid-range torque and quicker throttle response on tap when they take on the new 1.5-mile Kentucky Speedway in the Indy Racing Northern Light Series' inaugural Belterra Resort Indy 300 on August 27. GM Racing has released and IRL officials have approved a revised cylinder head design and corresponding engine management calibration updates for the IRL Aurora V8. The new Oldsmobile engine specification will make its competition debut at the open-wheel series' new Kentucky home.
"GM Racing has completed extensive dynamometer development and track testing programs to validate the new engine specification," said Joe Negri, GM Racing IRL/Road Racing Group manager. "The feedback from the IRL drivers who have tested the new components is overwhelmingly positive, and they are looking forward to running the new package at Kentucky Speedway."
Oldsmobile has already clinched its fourth consecutive IRL Engine Manufacturers championship, and an Oldsmobile driver is certain to win the Rookie of the Year title. The races for the driver and team championships are still wide open, however. The enhanced performance offered by the updated IRL Aurora V8 could be a factor in determining the outcome of the remaining two races and deciding the championships.
The centerpiece of the revised Oldsmobile IRL Aurora V8 engine kit is a new cylinder head with high-velocity ports that are optimized for the 3.5-liter displacement limit that took effect in January. "The new port design is intended to enhance efficiency across the engine's operating range while maintaining excellent high-rpm performance," Negri noted. "The improvement in mid-range torque and throttle response will be readily apparent on 1-mile tracks. On 1.5-mile ovals such as Kentucky Speedway and Texas Motor Speedway, the IRL Aurora V8's broader torque curve will improve acceleration on restarts and will enhance the quality of the racing as drivers work their way through traffic."
GM Racing, the technical arm of General Motors' worldwide motorsports program, has released the new components to the independent engine builders who supply IRL teams. "All of the teams that ordered new cylinder heads have received them," Negri reported. "GM Racing engineers also supplied a baseline calibration for the IRL Aurora V8's electronic engine management system that is tailored to the airflow characteristics of the new ports. The independent builders can, of course, fine tune the calibration to suit their specific engine combinations."
Like the thoroughbred horses that have made the Bluegrass State famous, Oldsmobile's IRL Aurora V8 has a racing pedigree. It was inspired by the modified production 4.0-liter Aurora V8 that set 47 speed and endurance records in 1992. It is directly descended from the IMSA Aurora V8 that won championships in international road racing in 1995-96. Since the IRL Aurora V8 made its open-wheel racing debut in January 1997, Oldsmobile engines have won 35 of the last 36 IRL events (including four straight Indianapolis 500 titles) and have won every IRL championship in 1997,1998,and 1999. The Kentucky Derby has showcased horsepower of the four-legged variety for 125 years. With powerful new engine components, the Oldsmobile drivers who will compete in the inaugural Indy car race at Kentucky Speedway will hold the reins on more than 650 horsepower as the Indy Racing Northern Light Series enters the home stretch in the race for the driver and team championships.