This is the anatomy of a 1,100bhp racing truck
These are the ingredients that make up the world’s most unlikely track stars
Meet Jochen Hahn. This is his Team Hahn Racing Iveco S-Way, and it just so happens that he’s a six-time European champion. The perfect man to guide Top Gear through the world of truck racing, then. Hahn has been racing trucks since he took his father’s seat in 2000, and his team’s second truck is now piloted by his son Lukas. Yep, it’s a truck racing dynasty.Advertisement - Page continues below
Racing trucks use an old school leaf spring suspension set-up front and rear, but there are also high-end shock absorbers and water cooled brakes that bring these 5.3-tonne monsters to a stop from their 99mph (limited) top speed. Teams aren’t allowed to run any camber on the front wheels, but special race spec tyres mean they’re pulling around 1.1g in faster corners. The manual gearboxes are from standard road-going trucks and have a ludicrous 16 speeds, although in a race drivers only use two.
The official FIA European Truck Racing Championship may look agricultural, but in 2021 the series switched to using a 100 per cent sustainable fuel (HVO). This reduces net CO2 emissions by around 90 per cent. The engines are capped at 13 litres in capacity and power the rear wheels with 1,100bhp and 4,794lb ft of torque. They come from standard production, but teams change the internals to make these proper racing power units.Advertisement - Page continues below
The chassis must come directly from a road-going truck, and apparently homologation specials aren’t a top priority in the world of haulage. Cabins must resemble a production lorry too, although they only have to be 2.5m tall and just over 2.5m wide. Most of the non-structural panels are made from plastic or fibreglass and inside it’s pure racecar, although the steering column does drop down between your legs and the Recaro is mounted on top of the front wheels. Thankfully there’s an extremely high-pressure power steering system, but the trick is to not overdrive a truck – slow cornering speeds equal faster exit speeds.
For Team Hahn Racing it costs around €1m per truck for a season in the European Truck Racing Championship, and that’s before the drivers decide to take the ‘full contact’ spirit of the sport a little too far. Weekend spectators get to see four races, with two on a Saturday and two on a Sunday, plus a qualifying session and a ‘Super Pole’ shootout on each day. Races are 28 miles long as the trucks can only carry around 30 miles of fuel – water tanks for the brakes will be running dry towards the end too. Up to 18 drivers compete in each race, but as with all motorsport it’s getting trickier to attract sponsors and manufacturer support is waning.
Engine: 13,000cc straight-six turbodiesel, 1,100bhp, 4,794lb ft
Gearbox: 16-speed manual
Top speed: 99mph (limited)
Cost per season: €1,000,000