Source: Haldex post
LANDSKRONA, Sweden — Imagine the sound: eight production trucks roaring around the corners of famous European racetracks like Germany’s Nurburgring, reaching speeds up to 160kph on the straight. What with their mass and engine output – up to 1,470kW, more than a Formula 1 racing car – their progress around the track is awesome to behold.
“Anyone who has experienced truck races live knows the fire in their hearts when the engines start. Absolute concentration, team spirit, tension and pure adrenaline,” says Silvia Lenz, a member of SL Trucksport 30, a team in the FIA European Truck Racing Championship. The team is sponsored by, and supplied by, Haldex, and competes head-to-head with about 20 others during half a dozen race days spread over the summer and autumn.
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Race days consist of two qualifying and two super-pole sessions, and, to keep things interesting, there’s a reversed grid in race two and four for trucks positioned first and eighth in the previous race. For those used to Formula 1 racing, one of the biggest surprises for a first-time attendee would be the open paddock and access to the individual teams and drivers. “It’s just one big family,” remarks Lenz. In the case of SL Trucksport 30, that’s literally true, as the driver is her son: Sascha Lenz.
He drives a 2020 MAN TGX 18.480 truck fitted with standard Haldex truck brakes, augmented with a water-based cooling circuit. But his runs, unlike those of a truck driver delivering goods on public roads, are accompanied by an extraordinary attention to detail. Lenz explains: “After every race day and between the individual runs, the truck is serviced, as the stress on the material such as the brakes and chassis is enormous, and ultimately the driver’s safety also depends on it. He also needs full confidence in his brakes if he initiates the braking process 50m before the start of a bend. After all, five tons also wants to be controlled by a hairpin curve.”
The minimum tractor weight is 5.3 tons, with 60 percent of that on the front axle. As series-produced trucks were never designed for this kind of activity, extra care must be taken with the chassis. She adds: “The center of gravity of a truck is quite high, and at the same time undesirable for racing. It requires a very high degree of sensitivity in the weight distribution, as this is also prescribed by the regulations and must not be undercut.”
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As to how the team chose Haldex, she observes: “The contact was made on the racetrack, and it just worked right from the start. Over time, a friendship has developed, as well as a regular exchange of data of the race-proven brake parts from Haldex. Our relationship should not be understood as pure sponsorship; rather, it is a win-win situation that offers advantages for everyone involved. Brakes can of course be tested on test stands, but theory and practice are two different worlds. Because where would the limits be higher than on the racetrack?”
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