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Renault’s factory-backed race truck is based on a big conventional cab-over Magnum model (as opposed to a bonneted style), which isn’t sold in Australia.
Take a look at the Renault racing truck from behind and there’s the engine sitting behind the cab, between the chassis rails. The truck chassis is different to a road-going rig and the engine is out the back to even up the weight distribution.
The turbocharger intercooler, radiator and air filter are under the cab, while the extra-strength custom chassis ensures the highest possible protection in a crash.
Renault Trucks has racetuned a DXi13 12.8-litre sixcylinder diesel to provide maximum performance. It generates a whopping 854kW (1160hp) and an incredible 5200Nm of torque, with maximum engine speed of 2600rpm, sent through a 16-speed manual transmission to a single axle with four wheels.
Rules require minimum weight of 5500kg, which is super light for a truck.
The power to weight ratio leads to almost frightening acceleration (a performance car-like 0-100km/h in 6.5 seconds) and top speed (limited to 160km/h).
The rolling performance is also impressive, with a remarkable 60km/h-160km/h split of less than seven seconds.
With such performance, braking is imperative and a lot of thought is put into the braking systems given how hard they work pulling up big and heavy trucks.
The brake pads can actually be seen smoking when the trucks brake heavily.
A pneumatic brake system uses Brembo ventilated steel discs latched on to by single Meritor calipers. In order to prevent them overheating, a water spray cooling system operates throughout the race.
The FIA rules specify the truck cab be shared with a production model. Renault chose a Magnum day-cab, opting for the car transporter version, which means it has a low roof for better aerodynamics.
Of course the styling is very different, with Renault Trucks penning the aggressive look at its design centre. No rear spoilers are allowed but the bodywork clearly helps funnel the air over the back of the truck effectively.
The trucks have a turntable, not that they could haul a trailer.
The race trucks have an extensive FIA safety cage, along with harness, wraparound seats, a cut-out switch and extinguisher. While the drivers are less likely to make risky moves than touring car racers, spectacular crashes can happen and the massive forces involved mean they can result in a lot of damage.
For those interested in a virtual drive, Renault offers a free PC, smartphone and iPad game, view renault-trucks.com/ truckracing.