The Penske PC23 was designed by Nigel Bennett of Penske Cars Ltd in Poole, Dorset. A logical development of its predecessor, the car dominated the 1994 CART IndyCar season in the hands of America’s Al Unser Jr, Brazilian Emerson Fittipaldi, and Canadian driver Paul Tracy.
The PC23 was powered by the Ilmor 265D quad-cam engine for most of the season. For Indianapolis, however, it was fitted with the unique 1024 bhp pushrod Mercedes 500i engine— built purely to exploit a loophole in the technical regulations for the Indy 500.
Overall, Penske cars won 12 of the 16 races that season, with Unser Jr claiming the CART IndyCar season title ahead of Fittipaldi and Tracy in a Penske 1-2-3. The Indy 500 win, by Unser Jr, was special in many respects with the great minds of Roger Penske, Ilmor’s Mario Illien, and Paul Morgan together building the one-off Mercedes 500i engine in utmost secrecy; they only revealed it a few days before the start of the event in May. Fittipaldi crashed when leading in the closing stages and Unser Jr was thus able to bring his PC23 home to score a famous victory. But the Mercedes 500i engine never raced again.
Unser Jr, Fittipaldi and Tracy took a clean sweep of the podium five times during the 1994 season. And Penske was crowned CART IndyCar World Series Constructors’ Champion with the team’s PC23 having dominated the season.
Displayed here in road course configuration, this chassis was raced by two-time Formula 1 World Champion Emerson Fittipaldi during the 1994 CART IndyCar season scoring 11 podium finishes. The car was then campaigned by Stefan Johansson for Bettenhausen Motorsports in the CART Series the following year.
Displayed courtesy of Patrick Morgan of Dawn Treader Performance from Monday 18 February to Sunday 24 February 2019