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Beast: The true story behind the creation of a legendary race engine

Submitted by on May 14, 2014

Beast

Image: Octane Press

In an era when race regulations left a little more room for a creative mind to do something completely different, Penske Racing, Ilmor and Mercedes-Benz found a way to build a one-of-a-kind beast of an engine that would romp the Indy 500.

Beast: The true story behind the creation of a legendary race engine is its story.

1994 Indy 500

For the 1994 Indianapolis 500 Penske Racing and Ilmor spotted an opportunity in the overlap between the CART regulations which defined the rules of the full Indycar season, and the USAC regulations that governed the Indy 500.

USAC had allowed the use of stock-block pushrod engines for some time, and in the early ’90s lifted a requirement to use any production-based parts, allowing purpose-built pushrod engines. A bump in the allowed engine displacement and turbo boost made the opportunity even more interesting.

Beast: The Top Secret Ilmor-Penske Engine that Shocked the Racing World at the Indy 500

So for the 1994 race Penske, Ilmor, and soon Mercedes, set to work developing a purpose-built pushrod race engine in secret. They didn’t surface until just a few days before the opening day of Indy, and brought with them the defining factor of the race.

Author Jade Gurss’ new book Beast: The Top Secret Ilmor-Penske Engine that Shocked the Racing World at the Indy 500 goes to all of the key players in the race to unveil the massive design and development effort that went into completing the knife-edge project under such incredible time pressure. Race-engine experts from Ilmor, Roger Penske’s team, Mercedes and drivers Emerson Fittipaldi, Al Unsur Jr. and Paul Tracey all provide their insight and illustrate the tale as only they can.

Beast: The Top Secret Ilmor-Penske Engine that Shocked the Racing World at the Indy 500

It’s one of the stories that only the golden age of motorsport can provide; exciting, profoundly interesting, utterly unique and inspirational, and the book is well worth a read for all fans of motorsport and Indycar.

Beast is available at Octane Press here for the eminently reasonable price of $US 22. Hit this link to head straight to the official site, and read on for the official word from Octane.

Via Octane Press

Images thanks to Octane Press

Beast: The Top Secret Ilmor-Penske Engine that Shocked the Racing World at the Indy 500

The true story behind the creation of a legendary race engine

The Beast was the nickname of a shocking new race engine unveiled for the 1994 Indianapolis 500. The massive effort to design and build it in a seemingly impossible time frame is still hailed as one of the most herculean efforts and well-kept secrets in the history of the Indy 500. In the new book, Beast, bestselling author Jade Gurss chronicles the subterfuge and debunks the myths about this legendary racer that persist twenty years on.

Gurrs interviewed all the key players involved in the race to undercover the story of how this engine powered the Penske PC23 chassis to one of the most talked-about Indy 500 races in history. The British race-engine experts at Ilmor Engineering offer detail about the design and manufacture of the engine. Roger Penske’s team reveals how the engine and car were tested and developed, and how Mercedes came to be involved in the project. The story unfolds as Roger Penske and Mario Illien of Ilmor play every card they possess to create an incredible race engine–even rare World War II fighter planes and supersonic jets roar into the heart of this high-tech tale. Drivers Emerson Fittipaldi of Brazil, Al Unser Jr. of the United States, and Paul Tracy of Canada provide details on the tense weeks leading up race day. The book reaches a suspenseful climax at 250 miles per hour at the Indy 500 that no-one can forget.

Wrapped up in the drama and intrigue are real business and motivational lessons which made Roger Penske one of the most successful businessmen in the world and that helped Ilmor and its cofounders, Mario Illien and the late Paul Morgan, design and manufacture Indy car and Formula 1 championship-winning engines. Beast is not only a must-read for sports and race fans, but a compelling narrative for those who enjoy genuine lessons in business and technology or thrilling mysteries based on actual events.

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