PETRONAS today rolled out its high-performance prototype “GP1” motorcycle engine at the Sepang F-1 Circuit, prior to the start of the Malaysian leg of the 2001 FIM World Motorcycle Grand Prix (Moto GP). The roll-out ceremony was officiated by Datuk Hishammuddin Tun Hussein, Minister of Youth and Sports.
The “GP1” engine was fitted into the chassis of a working prototype motorcycle specially built for the roll-out occasion. This new make of a high-performance concept machine made its world debut at Sepang with the help of Niall Mackenzie, former British Superbike Champion and World Championship veteran, who completed two laps at the circuit for the ceremony.
The 4-stroke, 3-cylinder 989cc prototype has been developed by Sauber PETRONAS Engineering AG (SPE), a 60:40 venture between Red Bull Sauber Holding AG and PETRONAS, with the involvement of a group of PETRONAS’ engineers attached at SPE.
Phase one work on the prototype began towards the end of July 2000 following the completion of its concept earlier that year. The project team successfully conducted the first firing of the prototype on 17 December, and the first phase prototype was unveiled to the public in April 2001 at Suzuka, Japan, before the opening of the 2001 Moto GP season. After the Suzuka launch, the team began the design, development and testing works on the phase two version of the engine, the prototype of which was rolled out today.
Derived from the latest motorcycle and Formula One technology, the prototype is a manifestation of PETRONAS’ commitment in developing and nurturing indigeneous skills in the high-level automotive engine design and development. In 1998, PETRONAS launched Malaysia’s first prototype commercial automotive engine, also designed and developed at SPE. This engine is currently in its production intent phase.
Apart from the advantages gained from the technology transfer, PETRONAS will own the intellectual property rights to the “GP1” engine. This will provide the corporation with a platform to undertake product development for its motorcycle fuel and lubricants like Sprinta 5000, much like that for the PETRONAS Syntium lubricant which is now used in the Red Bull-Sauber-PETRONAS Formula One cars.
Also present to witness the roll-out ceremony were Tan Sri Dato’ Mohd Hassan Marican, PETRONAS President and Chief Executive and Mr Peter Sauber, Chairman of SPE as well as Team Principal of the Red Bull Sauber PETRONAS Formula One team.
Legal & Corporate Affairs Division
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