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Volvo Trucks’ The Iron Knight sets new Land Speed Records

Volvo Trucks’ The Iron Knight has set two new land speed records for both 500m and 1000m…

ANYONE WHO thinks trucks are slow obviously hasn’t heard about The Iron Knight. This one-off Volvo truck has just set two new land speed records, for both 500m and 1000m.

The records were set to help promote Volvo Trucks’ new I-Shift Dual Clutch transmission. “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.

Set on a closed circuit in Sweden, The Iron Knight achieved an average speed of 169km/h from a standing start across the 1000m, stopping the clock in 21.29 seconds. It achieved 131.29km/h across 500m and stopped the clock in 13.71 seconds.

Volvo Trucks' The Iron Knight

“Apart from Volvo Trucks’ powertrain, which is the heart and soul of The Iron Knight (2400hp and 6000Nm), 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,” said Olof Johansson, a technician at Volvo Trucks.

The Iron Knight was driven by Boije Ovebrink, who has more than 30 years’ experience of both car and truck racing 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,” he said.

Key tweaks to The Iron Knight:

  • 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.

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 158.8km/h.
  • 2010: The record for the same distance was beaten by ‘NH D16′ (1800 hp) which reached an average speed of 166.7km/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 152.2km/h respectively.
  • 2012: ‘Mean Green’ took on the 1000 metre flying-start category and set a new record with an average speed of 236.6km/h.


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Isaac Bober

Isaac Bober