Big Rigs: The New Stars of the Sports


Speed is an excuse to show power. In the truck world the races are not as absent as many people think. Its heavy engine, the 8 wheels, and the average weight of 10,000 pounds do not disqualify the Big Rigs for a speed-force competition.


The professional races with trucks made for the contest are a relatively new concept in the United States. The racing championship was exclusively a field for light cars until 1989 when the North American Big Rig Racing Association began operations in Canada and then in 1997 the South Sound Speedway in Washington.


By those times, the European concept of truck racing was too advanced. The FIA Super Truck Racing has been a very popular competition for 15 years. Teams like the Buggyra Truck Racing Team in Germany have won European championships on this field. The fever spreads not only in Germany but in other European countries like England and Spain.


These teams have fleets of 8 wheeled trucks, turbo diesel trucks modified with a manumatic transmission and aerodynamic designs made for the speed. They also have their own expert and professional drivers who dedicate their careers to this sport. As with the other professional categories of car racing, the drivers are very famous people.


This was considered as a sport in Europe, and this notion traveled to America with the help of the Super Truck Racing Association of North America (STRANA) created in 2001. Companies like Tonka sponsored the first three races of this kind in 2003. The first one was the Tonka Super Truck Celebrity Challenge. The second and third ones were in Road America in Elkhart Lake, Wisconsin, and the Road Atlanta in Georgia.


Indeed, the racing trucks were all new. They were tube framed, powered by a 11.1 liter Caterpillar in line 6 turbo diesel with 365 horsepower resulting in 1000 horsepower in the hands of the staring driver.


The objective of the STRANA is not only to show big rig racing as a sport but also to get the American family involved with this entertainment. So the families can participate in a racing event by getting close to these trucks, take pictures and admire it.


For the truck manufacturing industry the opportunity of showing off the power of the trucks is a huge deal. The trucks were constructed to haul more than 80,000 through long distances. This has the potential to transform the truck racing as kind of Formula One big brother.


This is just the beginning. Even with the new series of races made, the enthusiasm will allow for more than fifteen trucks to compete in 9 American Le Mans Series races. The new version of these new motor sport races, with its combination of power, size and velocity, is extraordinary for the sportsmen, the owners, the industry and above all, the public.