Penske PC-23 photo

1994 Penske PC-23

The CART Penske Racing car for the 1993 season was the Penske PC-22. It was designed by Nigel Bennett and powered by a turbocharged Ilmor-Chevrolet 265C V8 engine. It made its racing debut at the Australian FAI IndyCar Grand Prix where it qualified 2nd with Emerson Fittipaldi and 3rd with Paul Tracy. Fittipaldi would finish the race in 2nd place and the PC-22 driven by Tracy retired due to electrical problems. Tracy would later earn the first victory for the PC-22 at the Grand Prix of Long Beach. Tracy would win four more times throughout the season. Fittipaldi won on three occasions, including Indianapolis. Nigel Mansell would clinch the championship with Fittipaldi placing 2nd with 183 points, just eight points behind Mansell.

The PC-23 followed and was an evolution of the PC-22. One of the more substantial differences with the new car was the smaller rear wings which were added due to mandatory rule changes for the 1994 season. The PC-23 had some modifications to the transmission and power was from an Ilmor and Mercedes-Benz 500I engine. The Mercedes 500I was lighter than the Ilmor Indy V8 but it had a higher center of gravity due to longer inlets.

The PC23 made its racing debut at the 1994 Australian FAI Indycar Grand Prix where Fittipaldi qualified 3rd. Al Unser, Jr. qualified 5th and Paul Tracy in 6th. Fittipaldi would finish the race in 2nd place, while Tracy and Unser retired early due to electrical problems.

The PC23 scored its first victory at Phoenix, which was also the first oval race of the season. Fittipaldi captured the victory followed by his teammate, Al Unser, Jr. in 2nd place. Fittipaldi would score three 2nd place finishes, and five 3rd place finishes throughout the season. He would finish the season in 2nd place in the Championship standings. Paul Tracy scored three 1st place victories with the PC23 and finished 3rd in the Standings. Al Unser Jr. won on eight occasions with three 2nd place finishes, earning him 1st in the Championship. Out of the 16 races in 1994, the PC23 won on 12 occasions.

For the 1995 season, the Penske Racing team used the new PC-24, but with less success. The Bettenhausen Motorsports team used the PC-23 for nearly the entire season, with a 3rd place finish at Milwaukee Indyfest being their best result. Stefan Johansson was the Bettenhausen team driver and in eight races scored enough points to finish 13th place in the final standings.

In 1996, the PC-23 raced at one event, the inaugural U.S. 500 with Gary Bettenhausen, who crashed out of the race in lap 89, while in the 21st position.

by Daniel Vaughan | Mar 2018
Vehicle Profiles
1994 Penske PC-23 vehicle information

Designer: Nigel Bennett

Regarded as one of the most amazing wins in the history of the Indianapolis 500, the Penske-Mercedes PC-23 with its Mercedes-Benz 500i engine is a legend in the racing community. The clean sheet engine was designed, built, tested and raced in just 25....[continue reading]


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