ENGINES: ILMOR ENGINEERING
Name: Ilmor Engineering
At the end of 1983 Cosworth employees Mario Illien and Paul Morgan decided that they could build better CART engines than Cosworth was willing to fund and they approached Roger Penske and asked for funding. He agreed to pay for the development in exchange for half of the shares in the company. He then sold 25% of that to Chevrolet. A factory was established at Brixworth in Northamptonshire and the first engine was completed in the summer of 1985. The following year the engines took two pole positions and in April 1987 Mario Andretti scored the first victory for one of the engines at Long Beach. It was the first of 86 victories between 1987 and 1993, including six Indianapolis 500 victories and five CART titles.
In 1989 Illien and Morgan decided to expand into Formula 1 and built a 3.5-liter V10 engine. This was used in 1991 by Leyton House Racing and by March and Tyrrell in 1992. That year the company was commissioned by Mercedes-Benz to design an engine for the Sauber F1 team. This was quite successful and in 1993 was called a Sauber V10. At the end of that year Mercedes-Benz decided to enter Formula 1 officially. Mercedes bought Chevrolet's share of Ilmor and supplied Sauber with engines. A Mercedes CART engine was built for the Indianapolis 500 and Al Unser Jr. won the 1994 race with ease.
For 1995 Mercedes dropped Sauber and went into partnership with McLaren. The result was not an immediate success but in America Ilmor-designed Mercedes engines scored six wins that year. The following year both programs were frustrating with no victories but in 1997 the Penske, Forsythe and PacWest teams collected nine wins in CART and at the end of the year Mika Hakkinen won the European GP at Jerez to give Mercedes its first F1 victory in the modern era. The McLaren-Mercedes combination dominated the 1998 and 1999 seasons although Ferrari was able to sneak to victory in the Constructors' title in 1999. The success in America tailed off with Greg Moore winning only three times in 1998 and 1999.
The domination of Ferrari in recent years put a lot of pressure on Ilmor and things were not helped in May 2001 when Morgan was killed while flying an old warplane. This led to a deal at the end of 2002 which sees Mercedes-Benz increasing its shareholding in Ilmor Engineering and will lead to a full take over the entire company by 2005. The engines have since bec ome known as Mercedes-Ilmor V10s.