The dream of every truck developer and freight forwarder: transport more cargo at the same total weight.
Suppliers and manufacturers are therefore constantly testing lightweight construction materials for truck construction. Today, merely using a new type of front and rear suspension on the tractor can cut total weight by 80 kilograms (176.37 lb). Innovative composite materials and processing methods are increasingly being used for trailers, bumpers, roof modules, doors and axles as well, including the patented “alphas® forming” method employed by voestalpine to manufacture top-quality axle beams – heavy duty parts on the rear axle – that also offer low weight.
Truck Race Trophy at Red Bull Ring
Development departments are not the only place the strength of these innovations is tested: their most spectacular showplace is the FIA European Truck Racing Championship 2016 (ETRC), second only to Formula One as the most successful motorsport series in Europe. Weight plays an important role here as well. This is where manufacturers like MAN and Mercedes-Benz test their series-production brakes, manual transmissions, chassis and cabins made from innovative new materials under racing conditions.
The Truck Race Trophy, taking place from April 29 to May 1 at Red Bull Ring in Spielberg, Austria, is one of the most important European championship races of the 2016 season: the goal in the total of four races is to collect important points for the European truck sport crown. The 5.5-ton tractor units are true powerhouses: their roughly 1,200 hp output and 5,000 Nm torque deliver extreme acceleration power – in less than six seconds, the trucks thunder at a flying start from 60 km/h (37.28 mph) to an electronically limited maximum speed of 160 km/h (99.41 mph).
The surrounding program of events is similarly impressive, with spectator drives in a race truck and exhibits of historic trucks and American cars. But the power trucks are not the only racers that will be heating up the asphalt of the 4,318-meter-long Red Bull Ring this year. In April the Red Bull Air Race took to the sky, the DTM is coming in May, in July it’s Formula One, and in August the MotoGP will pay a visit to Spielberg.