Trophy Trucks: the ultimate desert racers
What does it take to drive one at 140mph? Tom Ford finds out…
Posted: 02 Oct 2013
Underneath, they're essentially a war-spec spaceframe, triangulated for strength rather than lightness, because they need to be able to take the kind of pounding that would shatter a normal vehicle. Bluntly, they appear impossibly heavy-handed when compared to the pared-back delicacy of most competition outfits. Fedor, for instance, weighs over 2,900kg - definitely on the porky side. A Kroyer 458ci (around 7.5 litres) naturally aspirated V8 sits in the front, but so far back in the chassis it's almost mid-mounted. The class doesn't allow for any sort of power adders, so no forced induction or nitrous oxide injection. But, even so, Fedor's V8 runs to 800bhp with 690lb ft of torque.
That sounds like a lot in a solely rear-wheel-drive truck (AWD is too complicated, vulnerable and restricts ultimate suspension travel), but a decent chunk of that power is sapped by the three-speed ‘experimental' Kroyer racing automatic transmission based on a GM Turbo 400. This is mainly because the reinforcement needed to keep the thing running in race conditions means that it becomes a kind of giant torque-converted black hole for engine grunt. In the middle sit a driver and co-driver. There is no glass or Perspex in the windows, because windows in a Trophy Truck would have the life expectancy of a depressed mayfly. Behind the cabin is a 67-gallon fuel cell, and behind that sits a piggybacked pair of the giant spare wheels, positioned rearward for two purposes: accessibility and balancing the truck's nose-heavy stance.
Trucks could happily cope with much more power - BJ reckons way north of 1,200bhp would be perfectly practical, except for the fact that those kind of numbers consume fuel at a rate impossible to balance against the requirements of endurance racing. When you hear that BJ's current engine only does 3.1mpg at race pace, you can imagine what something with more power would need to keep it fuelled. Oman, basically.