With high-horsepower diesel engines and performance-geared transmissions linked together as a ferocious duo, racers have to be alert to the tremendous weight of their machines and just how dangerous that combination could be. Stuart Oliver, lead driver and principal of the United Kingdom's Team Oliver Racing has won several British championship cups since he began racing more than a decade ago. He is all too aware of how much energy is produced by a super truck wielding a performance package on a race track. "There is no rpm limit but the 160 kilometer limit is in place due to the kinetic energy produced by a 5,500 kilogram truck at maximum speed," he said.
Translated, this means the trucks are limited to a minimum weight of 12,000 pounds and a maximum speed of 100 miles per hour on the track due to the tremendous forces being created by hurling that amount of metal, at speed, around the track.
Bowing to that energy and potential, drivers are cocooned in a steel roll cage, belted in with race harnesses, fire safety systems at the stand by, the truck's suspension systems are lowered and limited in travel and stability is controlled by traction control systems in most locations as stock tires are required. Water-cooled disc brakes are also par for the course.
While engine placement is not considered under FIA rules, there is a minimum front axle weight limit of about 7,000 pounds (3,175 kilograms). That minimum weight limits how far back the engine and transmission weight can be shifted.
The trucks must also look similar to shipping vehicles. Oliver said the trucks minimum height is about 2.5 meters or a little more than 8 feet high, with a similar width, yet no length restrictions.
British trucks are classed as A and B. Class A is allowed disc brakes on all wheels and adjustable shocks. Class B does not have adjustable shocks, but can use disc brakes as this is where the trucking industry as a whole is headed. There are no classes for trucks racing outside the United Kingdom.
While anyone can see a typical over-the-road truck virtually anywhere in Europe or the United Kingdom, the super truck racers can only be seen in a few places. Keep reading to learn more about those.