Volvo makes as dual clutch transmission for heavy duty trucks that it thinks is pretty special. To showcase just how robust it is, the company decided to use it in a specially prepared tractor dubbed the Iron Knight to try for the FIA workl speed record for trucks. To get there, it stuffed a 13 liter Volvo diesel engine with four turbochargers into a production truck frame. Packing 2,400 horsepower and 4,425 lb-ft of torque, would the custom built 4,500 pound truck have enough grunt to better the existing 1,000 meter (0.62 mile) record of 21.52 seconds?
Tension were high at the Skellefteå Drive Center, a former airfield in northern Sweden when the Iron Knight took to the track last June. Behind the wheel was Boije Ovebrink, a professional car and truck racer. He is the same fellow who set the existing world record in another Volvo special purpose truck called Mean Green a few years ago.
FIA rules require a vehicle to complete the course twice within the space of one hour — once in each direction. Overbrink mashed the throttle hard at the beginning of the first run. When it was over, the Iron Knight had sprinted the length of the race course 2 tenth of a second quicker than the existing record. Within the hour allotted, he made a pass in the opposite direction that was even quicker. On that pass, Overbrink and the Iron Knight accelerated so fast they left the chase helicopter straining to catch up.
The Iron Knight now holds the world record for quickest truck over a 1,000 meter course — 21.29 seconds. Along the way, it also established another world record for quickest truck over 500 meters — 13.71 seconds.
From Volvo’s point of view, the purpose of all this was to show the world that its dual clutch truck transmission could handle the punishment dished out by 2,400 horsepower and 4,425 lb-ft of torque. If it can do that, it should be strong enough to handle more mundane freight hauling chores with ease. Don’t expect to see copies of the Iron Knight on the highway near you anytime soon, though. This truck is most definitely a one off designed exclusively for competition, more’s the pity.