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Excerpt from 'Beast: The Top-Secret Ilmor-Penske Engine that Shook the Indy 500'


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#1 JadeGurss

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Posted 28 March 2014 - 22:32

Here is a brief excerpt from the upcoming book BEAST, which chronicles the behind-the-scenes stories of Ilmor Engineering and Penske Racing to build a special pushrod engine in a nearly impossible timeframe - and in total secrecy - for the 1994 Indianapolis 500. The book will be released by Octane Press in the coming weeks prior to the 20th anniversary of the 1994 500.

 

The rules for the 500 allowed a larger displacement and increased turbo boost for a single-cam pushrod engine. After Roger Penske and Ilmor’s Paul Morgan and Mario Illien made the decision to go forward with that configuration rather than the usual double-overhead cam engine, the work began on engine design. As a way to avoid designing an entirely new Penske chassis, Illien made the bold promise to package the larger pushrod engine into the PC23 chassis with the exact same connections (chassis, gearbox, cooling, etc.) as the Ilmor Indy D engine they would run at the remaining 15 races on the CART Series tour.

 

From the first line on paper to the engine's startup was only 26 weeks, accomplished by an immense number of 24-hour shifts. 

 

For another excerpt and more book details, go to:  http://fingerprint.typepad.com.

 

I hope you enjoy it.       - Jade Gurss

 

 

Serious Brainpower

 

“Scientists investigate that which already is; Engineers create that which has never been.”

— Albert Einstein 

 

With the parameters of the pushrod engine in place, chief designer Mario Illien assigned primary duties to his engineering and design team. No one on the staff had ever designed a pushrod engine, yet each person had a specific area to design, matching their background and expertise. The first official lines were drawn by hand Monday, July 19, 1993, slightly more than ten months before raceday. 

 

“Keep in mind the sheer amount of work to get from a blank piece of paper to an engine,” said Philip le Roux, a South African designer who, like so many others on the team, had been hired by Ilmor directly out of university. He pointed out it wasn’t only the major components but “every nut, bolt, washer, and O-ring must be decided, and calculated for size . . . after that, there is no guarantee that when you screw them together they will fit, or run successfully on the dyno.”

 

Each designer was responsible not only for drawing the parts, but determining the manufacturing tolerances and what material to use. From basic aluminum to exotic compounds, each material has different attributes of strength, weight, density, fatigue, and expansion under extreme heat or pressure.

 

The decisions were complex and critical. In contrast to the wide-open Formula 1 rules, which allowed exotic and costly materials with catchy Ilmor nicknames like F.E.M. (****ing Expensive Material) and the mysterious Unobtanium, USAC rules for the 500 limited materials to save costs. For example, the valve gear had to be made entirely from titanium, stainless steel, or a similar ferrous alloy. 

 

The designer also had to be certain that complex parts could even be made—whether by a craftsman or CNC machine. As for the manufacturing process, most tolerances were measured in increments of microns.

 

Because of the time concern, Illien and his team had to trust their instincts as they designed pieces without the benefit of the full picture. It was like throwing darts in the dark.

 

“I designed the crankshaft long before we committed to other things because it was the longest lead time,” explained Illien. “So, I had to make decisions very early on with things that I really didn’t know how they were going to end up.”

 

A crankshaft begins as a single piece of steel billet called GKHW, a metal that, when heat-treated and hardened, makes a very strong and durable component. Each step of the progression takes days or weeks as the billet is transformed through a number of milling, drilling, hardening, polishing, and grinding processes that shape it before the finishing and balancing procedures. The entire production takes twenty-three weeks, more than any other part in the engine. The crankshaft’s timeline set the bar for all other components.

 

The most pressing concern, however, remained the size of the engine. 

 

“That was where I started: How do we fit it in the same space?” said Alan Cook, the designer in charge of the gear train and how each component would fit with all the other parts being sketched throughout the office. 

 

“[Engine design is] an iterative process in that, ideally, you want to put component A in this space. Then you have to see if component B will fit, and that might mean moving A or even redesigning it,” Cook explained. “So things like a bearing, there’s going to be a hole for that bearing. But, there might be a cylinder stud coming down from another direction that dictates where it goes. So, moving everything around, you’d eventually come up with a solution that fits . . . designing something like this is a multidimensional jigsaw.” 

 

Cook, a self-proclaimed perfectionist, would spend hours and hours imagining the 3D shapes from hand-sketched technical drawings. 

 

“An engineering drawing tells someone what you want and how to make it,” said Cook. “So, checking engineering drawings for me was two parts. The first is checking to see that someone could make it from what’s there, and the second part is check that it fits all the parts around it. You might get all the pieces to fit from one side, but they may not fit at all on the other side. You know how you can buy wooden three-dimensional puzzles that initially you can’t put together? This is a bit like that: You’ve got to gradually move everything around until the three-dimensional puzzle fits together.”

 

Early on it was decided the pumps (oil and water pumps on the lower left side of the engine, and the scavenge pumps on the lower right side) would be the only common parts between the standard and pushrod engines. Everything else had to be designed and manufactured anew. 

 

The gear train, a series of gears that look like the inner workings of a Swiss watch, and which provide power for the pumps and connect to the camshaft and alternator, was going to need a much thinner profile than Cook had previously encountered. 

 

Cook explained, “On the standard Indy car V8, the cylinder spacing was smaller—the bore was smaller—so you’d have four-fifths of the engine length taken up, then you’d have the other fifth for the gear train and the pump drive. Now, the depth of the gear train was significantly less. So, we had to move the gears from the back to the front [of the engine] and wrap the pump drive around them somehow. 

 

“The gear train was different, but all the principles were proven ones, so it was more puzzle than science,” said Cook, who took eight weeks to design it.

 

“The pushrod elements were going to be the biggest challenge because it was all new. My part of it just had to work.”

 

When it came to serious science, the top half of the engine was assigned to the young le Roux, who had been working on special Ilmor projects for Penske’s Pontiac NASCAR team. (NASCAR stock cars have used pushrod engines for decades.) 

 

“[Illien] had drawn the side view of the engine with all the major components: the pistons and the driveshaft and a section showing all the dimensions,” le Roux recalled. “He asked me to lay out the cylinder head and the valve train, pushrods and the cam—everything from the top of the block upwards. I started on the drawing board, and I’d sketched where the crankshaft was and where the camshaft was.”

 

The camshaft was primarily the work of Ilmor’s resident professor, Jeff Williams. If one were to script a prototypical English university professor, Williams would be the template. Having helped in the early days of Ilmor while on a sabbatical from teaching, he remained an influential part of the company for nearly twenty years. He recently wrote a scholarly book on cam design that summarizes his experiences with the Ilmor pushrod engine. 

 

“Paul [Morgan] came in with Mario and said, ‘We want you to do this pushrod engine,’” Williams explained. 

 

“Pushrod?” Williams asked. “Right, well, you’re the boss. It won’t work very well. You won’t get the. . .” 

 

Before Williams could finish, Morgan interjected, “Just do it.” 

 

“He wanted me to do what I’ve always done, which is to do the analysis of working out all the forces and displacements and the shape of the cam. All that jazz,” said Williams. “And get it in a form that’s acceptable to the cam-grinding machine.” 

 

“We need it quick,” Morgan said. 

 

“How long? It will take at least six months,” replied Williams.  

 

“Don’t be silly. You’ve got three weeks,” answered Morgan.  

 

“Three weeks! You’ve got to be joking!” 

 

“Well, that’s what you’ve got,” Morgan said. 

 

“Eventually it did take me three or four months to complete,” said Williams. “But it was about the worst three or four months of all time.”

 

Alan Cook, a protégé of Williams, disagreed with his mentor’s assessment. 

 

“It was the happiest time I’ve ever had at work,” said Cook. “While it was work, everyday you were doing what you wanted to do. So, brilliant! If I had chosen what to do each day, I would have chosen this.” 

 

When asked if it was a sacrifice, Cook was quick to reply. “It wasn’t a sacrifice because sacrifice implies to me that you’re not doing something else instead of this. This is what I wanted to do.”  

 

One key decision for Illien was the V angle of the two banks of cylinders in the block. The standard Ilmor engine for 1994 was designed with a V angle of eighty-two degrees, but Illien chose a seventy-two-degree angle for the pushrod engine. The tighter angle allowed the camshaft to move higher, resulting in shorter pushrods. Shorter pushrods were critical to maintain control of the valve train at high RPMs. This meant the pushrods—and the entire mass of the valve train—had to be compact and lightweight, yet sturdy with very low friction. 

 

 

Engine design is a series of compromises. The short length of the block defined the cylinder circumference. “The cylinder head had to be [done in] 3D. It was very complex,” Illien said of a major component that would hold everything exactly in place. “That was the first cylinder head design where we used the CAD system. It would be difficult to do with pencil and paper.” 

 

It was a primitive early version of the software, but le Roux put it to good use with the help of fellow designer Geoff Oliver. 

 

“I began working on an early CAD thing, which was just a wireframe picture,” said le Roux. “It wasn’t all rendered or even looked like something real. It was just the edges you could see. It was great. It was the first time I was really working in 3D, and because you were just looking at the edges, not surfaces, sometimes you’re not sure if you’re looking at the back or the front. I could lay out the valves and see if the pushrods made it on the cam. Then, I’d make a print-up to give to Mario and he would look at it.”



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#2 Catalina Park

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Posted 29 March 2014 - 10:11

Thanks Jade.
I'm really looking forward to buying a copy.

#3 JadeGurss

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Posted 29 March 2014 - 15:33

Thanks Jade.
I'm really looking forward to buying a copy.

Thank you. I hope you enjoy it!



#4 fbarrett

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Posted 29 March 2014 - 17:16

Jade:

 

Thanks for the excerpt. Have two copies on order (one for me, one for ex-MBNA PR guy John Chuhran). When will it be out?

 

Frank



#5 JadeGurss

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Posted 29 March 2014 - 18:05

Hi Frank, 

 

Thanks (twice) and say hello to John for me. It's been years since I worked with him on Mercedes-related projects...

 

I don't know the exact date(s) at the moment. It has been sent to the printers late this week, so it's definitely sooner than later. I'd say late-April is a good guess. We are also working to determine the UK/Euro release details. It will be several weeks after US release - and I'm pushing like mad to make certain it happens before this year's 500. (We lose the hook of the 20th anniversary after the race is run. ha!)

 

As soon as I know more specific dates, I'll be sure to post it on the forum.

 

Take care, 

 

Jade.

Jade:

 

Thanks for the excerpt. Have two copies on order (one for me, one for ex-MBNA PR guy John Chuhran). When will it be out?

 

Frank



#6 Magoo

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Posted 30 March 2014 - 02:25

Magnificent, thank you. 



#7 JadeGurss

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Posted 31 March 2014 - 18:32

Thanks Magoo. 

 

Magnificent, thank you. 



#8 JacnGille

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Posted 01 April 2014 - 02:02

:clap:



#9 JadeGurss

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Posted 25 April 2014 - 16:15

As a thank you to the Autosport forum, I've posted an exclusive excerpt from BEAST on the thread about the Penske PC23 chassis: http://forums.autosp...-car/?p=6690630

 

The book should roll off the printers in the next few days, so US folks can expect to see it available soon. I'm still not certain of the UK/Euro release timeframe, but it should not be an extended wait. 

 

Jade.



#10 SJ Lambert

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Posted 26 April 2014 - 07:15

G'day Jade

I've just ordered a copy through Octane. Did VDS ever do any reassembly/rebuild work on these engines? Or did they just do rebuild work on the "regular" engines?

When visiting my Godfather, Bob Mills in Texas in 94 I seem to recall that they were rebuilding Ilmor motors, I suspect that they weren't the Beast versions though!!!

Can't wait to have a read either way!!!!


Cheers

James

Edited by SJ Lambert, 26 April 2014 - 07:15.


#11 Ray Bell

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Posted 26 April 2014 - 11:41

Bob Mills?

Formerly of Elfin? Welsor? Went to Queensland?

#12 SJ Lambert

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Posted 26 April 2014 - 13:59

He was at Elfin in the sixties, from there he went to straight Surtees, I think. At some stage had another stint at Elfin, he raised his family in the States, he was in Midland, Texas when working for VDS, not sure if he was on the Penske payroll in the nineties at all, though he may have been more recently, he's recently retired and in the vicinity of Detroit these days. Nickname when at Elfin was "Music".

Don't know about any Welsor or Queensland gig, may not be the same Bob.......?

#13 JadeGurss

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Posted 26 April 2014 - 14:56

James, 

 

Thanks for your order. I appreciate it!

 

VDS did not have a role in the "E" engine. It was designed and manufactured by Ilmor in Brixworth, England. The parts were then shipped to Penske's headquarters in Reading, PA, where they were assembled in a secret garage several blocks away. There were 15 "E" engines used between February and the finish of the Indy 500, covering more than 11,000 miles. 

 

VDS did have a large role in building/rebuilding the "standard" Ilmor Indy "D" engine for a number of other teams at the Indy 500 and then through the year in the CART Series. Penske's engine shop built and maintained the Ilmor Indy engines used by their three-car lineup with Al Unser Jr., Paul Tracy and Emerson Fittipaldi. 

 

Hope you enjoy the book!

 

jade.

 

 

G'day Jade

I've just ordered a copy through Octane. Did VDS ever do any reassembly/rebuild work on these engines? Or did they just do rebuild work on the "regular" engines?

When visiting my Godfather, Bob Mills in Texas in 94 I seem to recall that they were rebuilding Ilmor motors, I suspect that they weren't the Beast versions though!!!

Can't wait to have a read either way!!!!


Cheers

James



#14 Patrick Morgan

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Posted 26 April 2014 - 18:14

Robert Mills (I know him as Robert) retired from Ilmor Inc. last year. He's one of the best machinists I've had the privilege to work with and I learned a huge amount from him. A true gentleman.



#15 SJ Lambert

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Posted 26 April 2014 - 21:36

Jade

Thanks for the clarification, I thought as much!

Patrick

Thanks for those kind words, from the original crew in South Australia in the sixties, Bob enjoyed more years in the industry than
any of the others. He's definitely one of the good guys!

#16 B Squared

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Posted 26 April 2014 - 23:37

My Dad turns 81 tomorrow and I ordered him the book for his gift. I printed off information on the book and he is anxious to read it, as am I. Hard to believe this was 20 years ago, I hope that Al Jr.'s car is at the Speedway this May to commemorate this massive accomplishment by Team Penske. Dad's been to the 500 each year since 1957 and 1994 is well-remembered by us all. Thanks for your efforts Mr. Gurss.

#17 JadeGurss

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Posted 27 April 2014 - 00:39

My Dad turns 81 tomorrow and I ordered him the book for his gift. I printed off information on the book and he is anxious to read it, as am I. Hard to believe this was 20 years ago, I hope that Al Jr.'s car is at the Speedway this May to commemorate this massive accomplishment by Team Penske. Dad's been to the 500 each year since 1957 and 1994 is well-remembered by us all. Thanks for your efforts Mr. Gurss.

 Thanks so much for the kind words and I really hope your dad enjoys the book. It truly has been two decades, and it's stunning how much has changed since then. 

 

Jade.



#18 Victor_RO

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Posted 28 April 2014 - 13:38

Reading and re-reading the PC23 thread over in the Tech Forum gave me enough fascination with the whole story for me to now have the book on pre-order from Amazon. :D



#19 JadeGurss

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Posted 28 April 2014 - 13:41

Reading and re-reading the PC23 thread over in the Tech Forum gave me enough fascination with the whole story for me to now have the book on pre-order from Amazon. :D

Thanks! If you enjoyed the thread, I think you'll enjoy the book. 

 

jade.



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#20 teejay

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Posted 30 April 2014 - 07:40

Awesome read sir.

 

I was too young and too far away to be into indy in 1994, but my passion for the series came in 1996 and I have always been a little sad I didn't see this in real life.


Edited by teejay, 30 April 2014 - 07:41.


#21 ensign14

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Posted 30 April 2014 - 09:24

Blimey.  20 years?

 

It puts into perspective Buick's efforts under the same regulations...



#22 Henri Greuter

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Posted 30 April 2014 - 10:26

Blimey.  20 years?

 

It puts into perspective Buick's efforts under the same regulations...

 

Don't forget that Buick was only a factory effort in both 1991 and 1992, other years it was pretty much an effort by  privateer engine builders.

And in the two years they were involved, they had the fastest qualifier in the field (1991 Bettenhausen, though no Pole, 1992 Guerrero on the Pole). And Unser Sr was 3rd in 1992. So it is fair to say that when the Buick factory was behind it, there were some successes and the majority of the worthwile achievemnts of the Buick V6 and derivatives was with factory support.

But if it had worked for Buick eventually had they continued their efforts is difficult to predict. The introduction of the 1992 Ford XB started the trent to create ever smaller engines that created ever more efficient cars with better aerodynamics. And that was something the Buick V6 and the cars they powered couldn't follow. If anything, the 1995 Lola-Menard was most likely the most bulky of all Lolas at the track between 1990 and 1995 and earned the nickname `Humpback" with ease.

 

Did you know by the way that the 1992 Ilmor 265B that eventually was named Chevy/B almost had been called Buick?

 

 

Henri



#23 Patrick Morgan

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Posted 30 April 2014 - 13:45

Don't forget that Buick was only a factory effort in both 1991 and 1992, other years it was pretty much an effort by  privateer engine builders.

And in the two years they were involved, they had the fastest qualifier in the field (1991 Bettenhausen, though no Pole, 1992 Guerrero on the Pole). And Unser Sr was 3rd in 1992. So it is fair to say that when the Buick factory was behind it, there were some successes and the majority of the worthwile achievemnts of the Buick V6 and derivatives was with factory support.

But if it had worked for Buick eventually had they continued their efforts is difficult to predict. The introduction of the 1992 Ford XB started the trent to create ever smaller engines that created ever more efficient cars with better aerodynamics. And that was something the Buick V6 and the cars they powered couldn't follow. If anything, the 1995 Lola-Menard was most likely the most bulky of all Lolas at the track between 1990 and 1995 and earned the nickname `Humpback" with ease.

 

Did you know by the way that the 1992 Ilmor 265B that eventually was named Chevy/B almost had been called Buick?

 

 

Henri

I think Tony Matthews actually did some artwork for the Buick Ilmor... The reason GM didn't get onboard with the Ilmor F1 program was mainly that they couldn't decide what name to put on the cam cover.... so the story goes anyway. 



#24 Henri Greuter

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Posted 30 April 2014 - 14:16

I think Tony Matthews actually did some artwork for the Buick Ilmor... The reason GM didn't get onboard with the Ilmor F1 program was mainly that they couldn't decide what name to put on the cam cover.... so the story goes anyway. 

 

Hi Patrick,

 

The poster known as Magoo over here had something about that Buick named 265B on his own webside and mentioned it here too.

Funny thing for me was that though it finally gat mere publicity by then at last, still it wasn't something entirely new. The 1992 Hungness yearbook already mentioned it yet it failed to make much impression then it seems.

 

As for names on the Ilmor F1 engine, could have been interesting. If the European brands of GM were in the running as well.....

Name it Opel in Germany and/or the European continent, Vauxhall in Britain, Holden in Australia, Isuzu in Japan....

 

Henri



#25 Patrick Morgan

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Posted 30 April 2014 - 15:32

 

As for names on the Ilmor F1 engine, could have been interesting. If the European brands of GM were in the running as well.....

Name it Opel in Germany and/or the European continent, Vauxhall in Britain, Holden in Australia, Isuzu in Japan....

 

 

Yes, that was exactly the problem!



#26 ensign14

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Posted 30 April 2014 - 15:41

As an aside, I've never understood why the media were happy with e.g. calling Cosworth "Ford", but not calling Lotus "John Player Special".  The fag brand had as much to do with the 72 as the blue oval had to do with the DFV.  I.e. they ponied up the cash but not the mind.  So why did they get more credit?



#27 kayemod

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Posted 30 April 2014 - 15:58

As an aside, I've never understood why the media were happy with e.g. calling Cosworth "Ford", but not calling Lotus "John Player Special".  The fag brand had as much to do with the 72 as the blue oval had to do with the DFV.  I.e. they ponied up the cash but not the mind.  So why did they get more credit?

 

Surely that's because Lotus and Colin Chapman were already well known to most with the even slightest interest in cars or racing, whereas despite their achievements, Cosworth were practically unknown outside the racing community. Lotus were established in the public mind, so most people carried on referring to them as that, whereas Ford who cleverly funded the FVA & DFV to reap reflected glory, were already known to just about everyone, and got exactly what they'd hoped for, very cheap advertising.


Edited by kayemod, 30 April 2014 - 16:05.


#28 JadeGurss

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Posted 30 April 2014 - 17:35

Awesome read sir.

 

I was too young and too far away to be into indy in 1994, but my passion for the series came in 1996 and I have always been a little sad I didn't see this in real life.

Thanks - glad you enjoyed it. 

 

One of the things most stunning to me in my research was how much things changed so soon after '94 500. This kind of project could never happen under current rules/economics in nearly all forms of motorsport...  

 

jade.


Edited by JadeGurss, 30 April 2014 - 17:38.


#29 JadeGurss

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Posted 30 April 2014 - 17:36

Blimey.  20 years?

 

It puts into perspective Buick's efforts under the same regulations...

You might be surprised of some of General Motor's (Buick's parent company) behind-the-scenes actions leading up to these events... 



#30 JadeGurss

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Posted 02 May 2014 - 17:16

Happy to report that BEAST lives! The book is now shipping from Octane Press. I'm proud of how it turned out - and I'm happy to answer any questions you have before or after reading it! 

 

Thanks, 

 

Jade.



#31 SJ Lambert

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Posted 02 May 2014 - 19:53

Bring out the Gimp (oops, I mean Beast!) - 20 years of sleeping is long enough!!!


Edited by SJ Lambert, 09 May 2014 - 04:58.


#32 SJ Lambert

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Posted 10 May 2014 - 11:25

I'm keenly checking the mail every day!!

This, and the PC23 thread are preventing me getting much done on my resto!!!

Whilst watching the mail box, I've dug out a few images of the precursors to the 265E, I presume that these are 265A, 265B, 265C and 265C+ variants. The second image from the top, isn't marked. The first, third and fourth are.

Can't wait to read the story of the big brother push-rod "E" variant (if I can call it a variant) - I find it that little bit more pleasing to discover that there's a little twist that tickles my fancy, I've only ever been to one PPG Indycar race and it was a glorious day in the sun at Nazareth in 1994 - hail to Ilmor and the Penske train!!!

scan0005.jpg


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scan0001.jpg

Edited by SJ Lambert, 10 May 2014 - 13:26.


#33 Patrick Morgan

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Posted 10 May 2014 - 15:24

Great pictures - they are 265A (late version with electronic fuel injection and pendulum dampers), 265B (A Penske only update to the 265A, essentially Penske did the development work on new heads... and arguably paid the price for it), 265C (265B heads on a new narrow angle block) and 265D. 



#34 Marc Sproule

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Posted 10 May 2014 - 17:21

seeing the pics of the chevy motors reminds me of the day that penske introduced them to cart in a press conference at phoenix, sometime in the '80s.

 

press kit had nice b&w pix. tag line on the one of the engine,,,,"four cylinder v-8". i reckon what they meant to say was four valve per cylinder v-8.

 

showed the pic to dan luginbuhl, penske's chief pr person.

 

"aw sh*t!!!" was his response.

 

for some unknown reason i snagged four or five press kits before they were pulled off the press room shelf.

 

:rotfl: :rotfl: :rotfl:



#35 SJ Lambert

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Posted 11 May 2014 - 21:35

The 265D as pictured is actually marked 265C+, was one ever designated as such?

#36 Patrick Morgan

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Posted 12 May 2014 - 12:07

The 265D as pictured is actually marked 265C+, was one ever designated as such?

I'm sorry, you are absolutely correct, it's a C+ which was an upgraded C motor. I believe the heads are 265D but the rest stayed the same. The plenum is that of a 265C which is distinctly different from the 265D. The upgraded motors were an attempt to keep the smaller teams and the Indy only guys from falling too far behind without having to by complete new engines. 



#37 SJ Lambert

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Posted 12 May 2014 - 13:12

Robert Mills supplied me with the shots in '94. He is quite fastidious!!!!

#38 427MkIV

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Posted 12 May 2014 - 13:37

Thanks - glad you enjoyed it. 

 

One of the things most stunning to me in my research was how much things changed so soon after '94 500. This kind of project could never happen under current rules/economics in nearly all forms of motorsport...  

 

jade.

 

Jade, thanks for your efforts, and I'm looking forward to reading the book. In your opinion, to what extent was the 209 engine responsbile for the Indy-CART split? Do you think Tony George would have created the IRL anyway?



#39 Henri Greuter

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Posted 12 May 2014 - 14:26

Jade, thanks for your efforts, and I'm looking forward to reading the book. In your opinion, to what extent was the 209 engine responsbile for the Indy-CART split? Do you think Tony George would have created the IRL anyway?

 

 

Permit me to shine a light on that before Jade switches on the spotlight.

 

I did some researsch that confirmed my recollection that the Tony George had announced the founding of the Indy Racing League in March 1994 already, thus before the existancece of the Ilmor 265E was confirmed, The plans to form the leagyue were mede before the engine appeared at the speedway.

What I remember from that year (I was at Indy in 1994), it was my feeling that, had it not been for the Penske-Merc, the big topic of the year would be the announcement by George that he was to go on his own. But the came the beast.

In fact, i must look this up but I vaguely remember the 1994 Menard entries already wearing the IRL logo decal on the rollbars or thereabout.while Menard had comitted to support the IRL very soon after the announcement was made.

 

I think it is safe to say that the 209 engines were not the reason for the split, but they became a factor after May 1994 that needed to be dealth with too.

 

Henri



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#40 Patrick Morgan

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Posted 12 May 2014 - 14:44

Henri is correct - the IRL split announcement was made on Friday before the Surfers race, March 18th from memory. This predated the announcement of the 265E by a few weeks and up until then we don't think Tony George knew the engine existed. 

 

The announcement is at the start of this short piece of film....

 

http://www.youtube.c...h?v=erHQmiqD8BI



#41 Nigel Beresford

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Posted 12 May 2014 - 14:55

Henri, you didn't imagine it. I recall seing the IRL logo on display in Gasoline Alley that year.

Edited by Nigel Beresford, 12 May 2014 - 15:00.


#42 427MkIV

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Posted 12 May 2014 - 15:07

Thanks for the replies. Henri, you and I emailed about that earlier. With it being May, it's time to re-read your Forix article about the 265E.



#43 Henri Greuter

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Posted 12 May 2014 - 18:55

Thanks for the replies. Henri, you and I emailed about that earlier. With it being May, it's time to re-read your Forix article about the 265E.

 

Thanks, but I think you better make sure you get Jade's book because that will be much more entertaining a read and have far more details.

 

Henri



#44 JadeGurss

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Posted 12 May 2014 - 19:00

This is part of what made the book so much fun: having experts like Patrick, Nigel and Henri providing a lot of details to make certain the book was as accurate as possible.

 

They're all spot-on: Tony announced the new league on the day that most team owners/CART participants were on the very length trip to Surfer's Paradise in Australia. Thus, it was nearly a full day until the CART folks could comment.

 

Jade, thanks for your efforts, and I'm looking forward to reading the book. In your opinion, to what extent was the 209 engine responsbile for the Indy-CART split? Do you think Tony George would have created the IRL anyway?



#45 Patrick Morgan

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Posted 12 May 2014 - 20:00

I'd like to back that up by saying that Henri's account is very different but is absolutely worth the read. It comes from a different angle from Jades and is completely unbiased - from the point of view of a spectator that was not overly enamored by the 1994 race. The work he has put in for no personal gain has been enormous and his persut of the truth and getting the facts correct should be commended by all. 

 

I hugely enjoyed Henri's article on the Porsche Indycar of 1990 as well. That was a very different car and has interested me for a long time. I've never found much literature on it so to find someone has bothered to put together such a good account was a real joy. 

 

Thank you Henri. Can you do the Greenfield next??! I would be really interested to know more about that engine. 



#46 Jack-the-Lad

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Posted 12 May 2014 - 22:36

My copy of BEAST should arrive tomorrow.  I'm especially looking forward to it as Indy 1994 was the first (and only) Indy 500 I attended.  I was privileged to be there as a guest of former CART doctor Steve Olvey and to attend Mario's farewell dinner.  What a week!

 

I still remember the two Penskes  rocketing down the back straight, and wondering if they might have been sandbagging, with even more in reserve.  It was something to behold, and I'm really looking forward to reading the full story.

 

Jack.



#47 Henri Greuter

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Posted 13 May 2014 - 09:24

Thanks for the replies. Henri, you and I emailed about that earlier. With it being May, it's time to re-read your Forix article about the 265E.

 

427mkIV,

 

I must backtrack on my comment about the IRL logos in the Menard cars. I have checked my pictures of the cars I have and I can't identify such logos beyound doubt on them.

I know I have seen the logo already in 1994 but then it must have been somewhere else.

 

As for Menard cars wearing IRL logos, I have also checked the 1995 Hungness for puctures of the cars and on one shot I could see an IRL decal on the car. I recall having read in one of the yearbooks that the menard cars were prominently wearing an IRL logo already, but I don't know anymore if it was in either the 1994 orr 1995 Hungness or Indy review.

I think I messed up big time and confused 1994 with 1995. Might have something to do with all the stuff I've read to write an article for 8W about what for many is the biggest controversy of the 1995 race. But by now I knew there is an ever bigger one.

 

@Jade,

Thanks for your nice comments and i understand, but regret, that you couldn't do much about 1995. I felt it difficult to deal with that subject too on the website since it wasn't really about the 265E but an after effect that initially was credited to the 265E hiding a flaw within the design of the PC23 that manifested itsef primarily at Indy. With enough space made available at the Internet I could then dive into much of that as well

But if you need inspiration for a sequel to "Beast" ("The tail of the beast" so to speak....) then you don't have to look very far for inspiration and dare I say, someone to team up for some assistance to dive into all of that......

 

Henri



#48 Henri Greuter

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Posted 13 May 2014 - 09:35

I'd like to back that up by saying that Henri's account is very different but is absolutely worth the read. It comes from a different angle from Jades and is completely unbiased - from the point of view of a spectator that was not overly enamored by the 1994 race. The work he has put in for no personal gain has been enormous and his persut of the truth and getting the facts correct should be commended by all. 

 

I hugely enjoyed Henri's article on the Porsche Indycar of 1990 as well. That was a very different car and has interested me for a long time. I've never found much literature on it so to find someone has bothered to put together such a good account was a real joy. 

 

Thank you Henri. Can you do the Greenfield next??! I would be really interested to know more about that engine. 

 

 

Hi Patrick,

 

Thanks for your nice words,

 

Believe me when I say that once at work putting it out on the web had started, and all kind of surprising discoveries been made and assistance provided by people I could not have hoped for, it was a thrill to do this project. Jade knows what kind of feel is is and he had the fortune of having even more such thrills. In that respect I envy him because I know the feeling.

 

I have considered the Greenfield and I can confirm that I have started some works that would give the Greenfield more credits then I could give it within the 265E piece but regrettably, at the moment when it really mattered to reap the benefits, something went wrong and I had to shelve the plans. Pity. Peter and Michael deserve much more kudo's for their project then they are given. I hoep someone else has more luck then I had.

 

As for the lack of coverage about the 1990 indycar: I tempt to believe that there were so many Porsche cars with more success then the 90P, it was easy to overlook that one because who'se interested in less succesful, if not failing Porsches. But such stories are often the most interesting ones.... Same goes for the alfa powered sister car of the 90P, the 90CA.

 

 

Henri



#49 Patrick Morgan

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Posted 13 May 2014 - 10:10

Hi Patrick,

 

Thanks for your nice words,

 

Believe me when I say that once at work putting it out on the web had started, and all kind of surprising discoveries been made and assistance provided by people I could not have hoped for, it was a thrill to do this project. Jade knows what kind of feel is is and he had the fortune of having even more such thrills. In that respect I envy him because I know the feeling.

 

I have considered the Greenfield and I can confirm that I have started some works that would give the Greenfield more credits then I could give it within the 265E piece but regrettably, at the moment when it really mattered to reap the benefits, something went wrong and I had to shelve the plans. Pity. Peter and Michael deserve much more kudo's for their project then they are given. I hoep someone else has more luck then I had.

 

As for the lack of coverage about the 1990 indycar: I tempt to believe that there were so many Porsche cars with more success then the 90P, it was easy to overlook that one because who'se interested in less succesful, if not failing Porsches. But such stories are often the most interesting ones.... Same goes for the alfa powered sister car of the 90P, the 90CA.

 

 

Henri

 

Shame about the Greenfield - I've only seen a couple of photos but I'd like to know more about it. As Mario Illien said in his interview with Jade they made a pretty decent effort. Certainly they deserve a lot of credit for making it happen. That's a monumental task in itself.

 

The 90P was a really interesting car. There was a lot of controversy about it - correct me if I'm wrong but I think it exploited some fluffy wording in the rules that were intended to make full depth carbon chassis legal in 1991... but they somehow interpreted such that the car appeared in 1990. It was a great looking car that's for sure and very different to anything else out there. 

 

I'm afraid you won't find me as enthusiastic about the 90CA simply because by that time I was old enough to understand the level of stress the Alfa debacle caused my Dad... and it went on for a long time. There was all sorts of sillyness over plenums and POV positions even after the initial debacles. I remember one weekend (the two of us often went into Ilmor on a Sunday morning to re-load the piston machines) him showing me a plenum with the transition cast into it and the POV hanging pretty much at the compressor outlet. He grinned and said "This is going to be banned as soon as it goes in a car!" He thought that was great! I guess I must have looked confused and he followed up by explaining that Alfa had pushed the POV back further and further trying to find a lower pressure area - by producing something so extreme that it was going to be illegal it highlighted the problem and CART (and USAC I guess) fixed the position of the valve in the middle of the plenum which fixed the problem.... for a few years anyway! 



#50 Henri Greuter

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Posted 13 May 2014 - 10:27

Shame about the Greenfield - I've only seen a couple of photos but I'd like to know more about it. As Mario Illien said in his interview with Jade they made a pretty decent effort. Certainly they deserve a lot of credit for making it happen. That's a monumental task in itself.

 

The 90P was a really interesting car. There was a lot of controversy about it - correct me if I'm wrong but I think it exploited some fluffy wording in the rules that were intended to make full depth carbon chassis legal in 1991... but they somehow interpreted such that the car appeared in 1990. It was a great looking car that's for sure and very different to anything else out there. 

 

I'm afraid you won't find me as enthusiastic about the 90CA simply because by that time I was old enough to understand the level of stress the Alfa debacle caused my Dad... and it went on for a long time. There was all sorts of sillyness over plenums and POV positions even after the initial debacles. I remember one weekend (the two of us often went into Ilmor on a Sunday morning to re-load the piston machines) him showing me a plenum with the transition cast into it and the POV hanging pretty much at the compressor outlet. He grinned and said "This is going to be banned as soon as it goes in a car!" He thought that was great! I guess I must have looked confused and he followed up by explaining that Alfa had pushed the POV back further and further trying to find a lower pressure area - by producing something so extreme that it was going to be illegal it highlighted the problem and CART (and USAC I guess) fixed the position of the valve in the middle of the plenum which fixed the problem.... for a few years anyway! 

 

 

Hi Patrick,

 

I can most definitely understand the feelings you ave about the Alfa project. For me the interest in the project was also based on the fact that it was an entirely different chassis then anything else. To this day I still am so grateful that I was at Indy in 1990, not only because of the winner by the way..... But also because of seeing the two different March cars of that years as well, I still get a kick out of reading the Alfa Romeo Press kit, stating that the March 90CA was the ideal home for the Alfa V8 engine.....

But on first sight alone, behind the front axle line, the thing just looked so off... It was really one of those cars of which you wonder why the hell they ever built it like that. I think it was the worst possible home for any engine in 1990. But OK, with hindsight I've had a lot of fun with it and because of it.

Of course, there was that little problem with Pat Patrick. But late in 1991, when Patrick crept back, revenge was so sweet I guess.....

But some kind of ultimate irony that, when Patrick had bowed out to enable Rahal at least getting engines and race the season, of all drivers that year that he became the CART champion! One of the most bizarre results of the year.

 

Henri