Last week, Volvo Trucks announced plans to try and take down not one, but two world speed records using an immensely powerful truck dubbed ‘The Iron Knight.’ The attempt took place on a former airfield in northern Sweden where the insanely fast truck was driven by Boije Ovebrink who managed to beat the speed records in the standing-start 500- and 1000-meter categories.
Here are the numbers. The Iron Knight is now the new record holder in the 500-meter distance with a time of 13.71 seconds at an average speed of 131.29 kph (81.58 mph). At the same time, it’s also the fastest in the 1,000-meter distance which it completed in 21.29 seconds at an average velocity of 169 kph (105 mph). If you’re still not impressed, Volvo Trucks mentions during the record runs its impressive truck managed to reach a top speed of 276 kph (171.5 mph).
How was it all possible? Well, the mid-mounted six-cylinder 12.8-liter engine with its 2,400 horsepower (1,790 kilowatts) and 4,425 pound-feet (5,993 Newton-meters) was obviously a contributing factor. But it wouldn’t have been possible without the I-Shift Dual Clutch transmission which was pretty much standard (and the same one used in the FH trucks), with the exception of the reinforced clutch with discs and pressure plates made from a sintered material.
The Iron Knight weighs 4.5 tons (9,000 pounds) and has a very respectable power-to-weight ratio of more than 0.5 hp / kg. It had to undergo some other changes to increases the chances of setting those two records, with Volvo Trucks’ engineers tweaking the software ‘to permit the high performance’ while some of truck’s electronics had to be removed to shave off weight. For the same reason, the aerodynamically-optimized cab was made from fiberglass. In addition, the side skirts gained huge air intakes to provide cooling for the modified D13 engine found in the company’s FH trucks.
Source: Volvo Trucks
Gallery: Volvo FH The Iron Knight
The Iron Knight and I-Shift Dual Clutch beat two world speed records
Volvo Trucks’ The Iron Knight is the world’s fastest truck – twice over. It has beaten the speed record in the standing-start 500- and 1000-metre categories. The record-breaker is custom-built in every respect apart from the engine and the series-manufactured I-Shift Dual Clutch transmission.
Volvo Trucks' The Iron Knight, driven by Boije Ovebrink, now holds the official speed records for the 500- and-1000 metre distances. During their work on the truck, an expert team from Volvo Trucks found innovative ways of uniting technology with design.
"This shows that our I-Shift Dual Clutch transmission has enormous potential and that it does not let you down under extreme conditions. The fact that the world record-breaker uses the very same gearbox that is found in our series-built FH trucks is something that we're really proud of," says Claes Nilsson, President and CEO of Volvo Trucks.
With an average speed of 169 km/h and a time of 21.29 seconds, The Iron Knight beat the international speed record for 1000 metres from a standing start. It also beat the corresponding record for the 500-metre distance, at 131.29 km/h and 13.71 seconds. The record run was carried out at a closed-off test track in northern Sweden. At the time of publication, the records are being reviewed by the FIA, the international motor sport association.
"Specialists from several different Volvo Trucks departments worked closely together to develop a truck with unsurpassed performance. Apart from Volvo Trucks' powertrain, which is the heart and soul of The Iron Knight, we've hand-built the truck from the ground up. The fact that we succeeded in securing not just one record but two is absolutely amazing," says Olof Johansson, a technician at Volvo Trucks.
Behind the wheel of The Iron Knight was Boije Ovebrink, who has more than 30 years' experience of both car and truck racing. He has previously beaten five speed records and in 1994 was European Truck Racing Champion.
"Volvo Trucks' The Iron Knight can be summarised in one single word: perfection. It's beautiful to look at and is an unparalleled powerhouse when you floor the accelerator. This is the third record-breaking truck I've driven, and I can't think of a better follow-up to Wild Viking and Mean Green," says Boije Ovebrink.
Here's how the record runs were carried out
The runs were carried out at "Skellefteå Drive Center" a former airfield outside Skellefteå in northern Sweden. The speed record was monitored and approved by the international motor sport association, the FIA. The truck covered the distance in both directions. Based on these two runs, the average time and speed were calculated. The record result that the FIA presents is the average speed of the two runs.
Volvo Trucks' previous record-breaking trucks
- 2007: ‘The Wild Viking' (1600 hp) beat the world record for the standing-start 0-1000 m distance, with an average speed of 158.8 km/h.
- 2010: The record for the same distance was beaten by ‘NH D16' (1800 hp) which reached an average speed of 166.7 km/h.
- 2011: The hybrid truck ‘Mean Green' (1800 hp diesel engine plus a 300 hp electric motor), set new records for 0-500 and 0-1000 metres from a standing start, at an average speed of 115.3 km/h and 152.2 km/h respectively.
- 2012: ‘Mean Green' took on the 1000 metre flying-start category and set a new record with an average speed of 236.6 km/h.
The Iron Knight - a record-breaking truck
- With 2400 hp, 6000 Nm of torque and weighing 4.5 tonnes, The Iron Knight has a power-to-weight ratio above 0.5 hp/kg.
- The mid-mounted engine is a significantly modified D13 unit with water-cooled intercooler and four turbochargers.
- The I-Shift Dual Clutch transmission maintains torque delivery during gear changes. Apart from a reinforced clutch (the discs and pressure plates are made of a sintered material), The Iron Knight uses the same gearbox that is fitted to series-manufactured Volvo FH trucks.
- Electronics kept to a minimum to lower the vehicle's weight.
- The software has been re-programmed to permit the high performance.
- The cab is aerodynamically optimised, made of fibreglass. The side-skirts have large air intakes to supply the engine with cooling air.
- During the record runs The Iron Knight reached a top speed of 276 km/h.