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They Found the Perfect Loophole! (Remembering the Secret Engine That IndyCar Banned)

Within just about any given series of racing, there is a defined set of rules. No matter if it’s IndyCar racing on the biggest stage or a local drag race, drivers are held to a technical set of vehicle restrictions. Naturally, if a team fails to meet the standards, they will be slapped with a disqualification. Depending on the sanctioning body, it might even result in more severe punishment. As it turns out, teams will do all that they can to go right up against the wall. They’ll really stretch out some concepts depending on the way that the rules are written. If it’s technically legal, why not try to push the limits just a little bit? After all, every team is out there trying to do the same.

Usually, eventually, if there is a clear-cut unfair advantage, the racing series will catch up to it. In most cases, they’ll even make new rules to counter this advantage. One awesome example of this is via the Penske racing experiment that gave them a runaway victory in the Indy 500 once upon a time. One year, the team decided that they would develop a 3.4 L twin turbo V8 engine with a loophole incorporated. As it turned out, with the pushrod style in place, the rules were little bit laxer. Therefore, Penske decided to push this engine just about as far as the humanly could. They were about to make the most of the way the rules were written.

As it turned out, Penske had a strong feeling that if the powers that be caught on to this, they would probably shut it down. As a result, we would see a secret engine shop created in one of their truck warehouses at night. This would help to perfect the design. Essentially, the combination was just barely within the rules. Roger Penske was so concerned that it would be flagged that he was quoted by one of his engineers, warning employees that the secret getting out could be like cutting their own paycheck in half. We’re left to deduce that he was referring to the winnings that he assumed would be pocketed once the combination was unleashed. Naturally, the Mercedes-Benz based power plant was banned right after the race.

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