The floor generated huge downforce as well, which in turn meant it had more grip than pretty much everything else. And it was driveable, too – so driveable in fact that some drivers, including 1992 Formula 1 world champion and then IndyCar driver Nigel Mansell, became convinced that Penske were running traction control, or so says Patrick Morgan, who restored this PC-23 with his company Dawn Treader Performance.
Despite coming into Morgan’s hands in a sorry state – as a shell with extensive crash damage – the car’s history meant it demanded his attention.
Briefly driven by Emerson Fittipaldi during the 1994 season, this was primarily a test car, used to fine-tune the next generation of onboard electronics. It was also the first IndyCar that racer Greg Moore drove, when he undertook a two-day test session with Penske Racing's CART team in November 1994.
After 1994 it was sold to the Bettenhausen team and driven by Stefan Johanssen, and later crashed at the US 500 by Gary Bettenhausen. That was the final time it turned a wheel, which explained the crash damage that Patrick Morgan had to rectify.
During the four-year restoration, as many components as possible were kept original, while others, such as the wishbones and the rear wings, had to be remade. The biggest challenge, Morgan explains in this beautifully shot video, was reconditioning the carbon-fibre, a lengthy process which involved stripping and re-skinning it.
All the hard work was worth it, don’t you think?