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The Penske PC-26 was designed by Nigel Bennett and manufactured by Penske Cars in Poole, Dorset for the 1997 CART Championship. Whilst a development of the PC-25 the PC-26 was designed to address the twitchy nature of the previous years car.
Five chassis were produced and driven by Al Unser Jr. and Paul Tracy. The Ilmor produced 850 bhp Mercedes-Benz IC108D engine served as the powerplant driving through an Xtrac gearbox within a Penske housing. Aerodynamic changes from the previous years car included revised sidepod inlets and a longer, sharper nose. The Delco Gen V electronics package was carried over from 1996 and remained a Penske only system.
The PC26 proved to be a formidable short oval car, Paul Tracy recorded three victories in Rio, Nazareth and Gateway. The victory at Gateway marked the 99th for the team and the final victory for a Penske Cars produced chassis. Penske Racing would have to wait three years to gain its 100th victory. The latter part of the season saw a variety of problems including an eye problem for Tracy as well as a lack of raw pace.
Complete CART World Series results
(key) (Results in bold indicate pole position; results in italics indicate fastest lap)
|1997||Marlboro Team Penske||Mercedes-Benz IC108D V8t||G||MIA||SUR||LBH||NAZ||RIO||GAT||MIL||DET||POR||CLE||TOR||MIC||MDO||ROA||VAN||LAG||FON|
|Al Unser Jr.||2||27||27||4||3||7||18||20||8||25||4||20||20||22||7||5||11||22||67||13th|