The Beast - The true story behind the creation of a legendary race engine


CONTACT: Tobias Gros, Octane Press



The true story behind the creation of a legendary race engine



Austin, TX - March 24, 2014


The Beast was the nickname of a shocking new race engine unveiled for the 1994 Indianapolis 500. The massive effort to design and build it in a seemingly impossible time frame is still hailed as one of the most herculean efforts and well-kept secrets in the history of the Indy 500. In the new book, Beast, bestselling author Jade Gurss chronicles the subterfuge and debunks the myths about this legendary racer that persist twenty years on. 

Gurrs interviewed all the key players involved in the race to undercover the story of how this engine powered the Penske PC23 chassis to one of the most talked-about Indy 500 races in history. The British race-engine experts at Ilmor Engineering offer detail about the design and manufacture of the engine. Roger Penske's team reveals how the engine and car were tested and developed, and how Mercedes came to be involved in the project. The story unfolds as Roger Penske and Mario Illien of Ilmor play every card they possess to create an incredible race engine--even rare World War II fighter planes and supersonic jets roar into the heart of this high-tech tale.  Drivers Emerson Fittipaldi of Brazil, Al Unser Jr. of the United States, and Paul Tracy of Canada provide details on the tense weeks leading up race day. The book reaches a suspenseful climax at 250 miles per hour at the Indy 500 that no-one can forget. 

Wrapped up in the drama and intrigue are real business and motivational lessons which made Roger Penske one of the most successful businessmen in the world and that helped Ilmor and its cofounders, Mario Illien and the late Paul Morgan, design and manufacture Indy car and Formula 1 championship-winning engines. Beast is not only a must-read for sports and race fans, but a compelling narrative for those who enjoy genuine lessons in business and technology or thrilling mysteries based on actual events.

Book Specifications

Title: Beast

Subtitle: The Top Secret Ilmor-Penske Engine that Shocked the Racing World at the Indy 500

Author: Jade Gurss

Foreword: Mario Illien

ISBN: 978-1-937747-33-6

Publication date: May 25, 2014

Publisher: Octane Press

Format: 6x9 hardcover

Page count: 256 pages

Images: 20 color, 20 B&W

Price: $29.95



Review Quotes

"An incredible tale told from the perspective of those who made it happen."

-John Zimmermann, Associate Editor, Vintage Racecar Journal


"Gurss nailed it!  I lived between that engine and probing media for the entire month of May, 1994, and couldn't have told the story any better.  Take the rest of the day off, Jade."

-Tom Cotter


"This engine captured more notoriety for Ilmor and Team Penske than anything we have done together. Some people loved it, some hated it, but it's rare to meet anyone from that era of racing that doesn't have an opinion about it. Now everyone can read the truth and see the incredible effort it took to make it happen."

- Paul Ray, President, Ilmor Engineering Inc.



About the Author

Jade Gurss is the former publicist to NASCAR race driver Dale Earnhardt Jr. and an expert on sports marketing. He's also the best-selling author of In the Red: The 2001 Season with Dale Earnhardt Jr, DW: A Lifetime Going Around in Circles and Driver # 8. A native of Topeka, Kansas, Jade now resides in Concord, North Carolina where he actively provides lectures and presentations for universities as well as corporate clients on sports marketing and publicity, small business ownership, and NASCAR.


About the Foreword Contributor

Mario Illien is an engineer specializing in motorsport engine design. Native of Switzerland, Illien broke onto the race scene in 1971 with Bonnier. In 1983, Illien created Ilmor Engineering with Paul Morgan. Illien designed Indycars and Formula 1 engines. Illien is the Technical Director of Ilmor Engineering.


Media and Publicity Campaign 
  • Extensive media campaign with social media blasts, video trailers and excerpt releases prior to publication of full length book.

  • Published in conjunction with and launched at the 2014 Indy 500 where Jade Gurss will be available sign books for readers and grant interviews to journalists.

  • Promotional event for Beast at the Penske Reunion and Legend's Day prior to the 2014 Indy 500.

  • Promotional event for Beast at SVRA U.S. Vintage National Championship at Circuit of the Americas in Austin, Texas.



Media Requests

To request a review copy of Beast or to learn more about this title, please contact Tobias Gros at 512.761.4555 or



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