As many FleetWatch readers will know, Volvo Trucks has done some really crazy things to highlight the features of its trucks over the past years. In doing so, it chose to go the ‘viral’ digital route to get its message out with the first YouTube film – The Ballerina Stunt’ – released in 2012. It was an immediate hit around the world. Click here to see it.
The one that really got the world talking about trucks was “The Epic Split” where Jean-Claude Van Damme did the splits between two reversing Volvo FM trucks. In that case, Volvo went way ‘out the box’ to demonstrate the stability and precision of its dynamic steering. It was awesome. Click here to see it.
There have been a number of others and now we’ve got The Iron Knight which has broken two world speed records for trucks. For the records to be recognized by the Federation Internationale de l’Automobile (FIA), the Iron Knight had to undertake two runs per record attempt within an hour.
Described as a custom-built tribute to the Volvo FH production model – it achieved an average speed of 169.09 km/h in a time of 21.29 seconds over its two 1 000 meters runs from a standing start. It also beat the record for the 500-meter distance reaching a speed of 131.29 km/h in 13.71 seconds across the two runs – also from a standing start. During the record runs, the Iron Knight reached a top speed of 276 km/h.
Certainly the truck was custom built to break the world speed records so one could sort of poo-poo the exercise as being just a ‘boys-and-their-toys’ jaunt. However, there was a serious business purpose behind it all and that was for Volvo to demonstrate the superior workings of its series-manufactured I-Shift Dual Clutch transmission which was standard in every respect. And it delivered way beyond what it was designed to do in every day trucking operations.
The engine was Volvo’s 13-litre D13 which, although not custom built, was tuned to maximum performance and perfection enabling it to produce 2 400 horsepower and 6000 Nm of torque. This all resulted in it having a 0-100kph acceleration time of just 4,6 seconds. How cool is that?
Behind the wheel of the Iron Knight was car and truck racing driver Boije Ovebrink, who beat the previous records he set in the hybrid “Mean Green” truck. The record run was carried out at a closed-off test track in northern Sweden.
A good record for Goodyear
Another company which is thrilled at the results is Goodyear which developed and built the special tyres which helped The Iron Knight shatter those speed records.
“With so much power and torque, ensuring that 4.5 tonnes of truck sticks to the track at speeds of up to nearly 280 km/h is a real challenge for the tyres,” says Laurent Colantonio, Director Tyre Technology Commercial of Goodyear Europe, Middle East and Africa.
The 315/70R22.5 Goodyear The Iron Knight steer tyres are based on Goodyear Truck Racing tyres as used by all trucks in the Federation Internationale de l’Automobile (FIA) European Truck Racing Championship while the 495/45R22.5 drive tyres are capable of withstanding the incredible torque that The Iron Knight develops.
And how’s this for impressive? Both tyres were built on the latest generation Goodyear truck tyre carcasses as used every day on European roads with specially developed tread compounds and tread patterns.
“The ability to develop tyres to break world speed records proves our prowess in using advanced technology and innovation to produce exceptional tyres. This is true for The Iron Knight´s tyres and also for our standard truck tyres that offer highest levels of performance to our customers and help them to reduce their Total Cost of Ownership,” said a proud Colantonio.
So where does all this leave Volvo? For one, it gives the company the bragging rights for having broken two world truck speed records. Secondly, when it comes to describing the I-Shift Duel Clutch transmission as being capable of withstanding every day trucking operations Volvo can merely say: “Watch this video. I rest my case.”
Here’s the video of the speed record. Watch it. Case rested!