Despite a decision to kill Oldsmobile, General Motors says it won't abandon open-wheel auto racing.
That could mean a rebadged engine after next year.
'Oldsmobile will continue its full participation in the Indy Racing League's 2001 season,' said Steve Shannon, GM's executive director of marketing services.
'Looking beyond the 2001 season, General Motors continues to be committed to the long-term growth of open-wheel racing through our involvement in the IRL and Indianapolis Motor Speedway.'
Through the Olds brand, GM became an Indy Racing League cornerstone when Indianapolis Motor Speedway CEO Tony George founded the league in 1996. Not only did the Aurora V-8 power the first 35 race winners, it kept the series alive when only GM and Nissan wanted to participate.
George is confident GM will stay in the series.
'(GM) has communicated to us its commitment to the long-term growth of open-wheel racing,' George said.
George and other key league figures believe GM will replace the Olds badge with something racy like Chevrolet or Pontiac. The new nameplate would be part of GM's package that has Ilmor Engineering building 3.5-liter engines for Roger Penske's new league program and could give others a target to shoot for in George's oval-track series.