This paper describes the design and development of the IRL Aurora V8 racing engine for Indy Racing League competition. It addresses the technical and organizational issues which were involved in producing a competitive racing engine in a compressed time period with specific cost and availability targets.
GM Motorsports developed the naturally aspirated, methanol burning IRL Aurora V8 (Figure 1) for the production-based 4.0-liter engine formula introduced by the Indy Racing League in January, 1997. The IRL Aurora V8 sub-sequently became the dominant engine in the series, winning every race, winning every pole, leading every lap, and sweeping the Engine Manufacturer, Driver, Team, and Rookie Championships in 1997.
The IRL Aurora V8 progressed from initial concept to the race track in 15 months. In order to meet the series' requirements, GM Motorsports engineers defined objectives for engine performance, cost, and longevity. GM Motorsports also established a cooperative program with component suppliers, chassis manufacturers, and independent engine builders. This organizational structure allowed the design, development, production, vehicle integration, and validation programs to proceed simultaneously.
The IRL Aurora V8 engine program presented technical challenges in areas such as chassis integration, reciprocating component loads, cylinder head and induction system design, lubrication and scavenging, engine management, and ignition. GM Motorsports formulated a specific testing and validation procedure to ensure that the IRL Aurora V8 engine would meet reliability standards, and developed upgrades in engine specifications to improve performance for the 1998 season.