New Race Series: ChampTruck World Series

By Tom Martin

January 19, 2015

“If it’s got wheels, I’ll race it.”
That pretty much captures the spirit of many a racer. With that spirit in mind, the group behind the excellent ChumpCar World Series for low-cost endurance team racing is now rolling out a new series for road racing semis. Yes, you heard right. 12,000 lb. semi-trailer cabs will race on serious road course like Thunderhill, New Jersey Motorsports Park, and Virginia International Raceway. 
We’re pointing this out because you can play too. The ChampTruck World Series is designed to allow amateurs to enter and to keep costs semi-reasonable (pun intended, sorry).
Of course, some of you simply like to keep track of the weird and wonderful ways of motorsports. And, since the ChampTruck races are designed to be spectator events, you might want to attend. Apparently racing semis is a big deal in Europe, with 100,000 plus spectators sometimes on hand. We’ll bet the appeal to young boys is pretty strong, making for great family events.
The Trucks
The basic rules of the ChampTruck Series are these:
1.      Any Class 8 big-rig truck style can enter – conventional, cab-over or compact
2.      Minimum weight of 12,000 lb., maximum weight of 15,000 lb.
3.      Engine displacement of 10 to 16 liters, with a 70mm intake restrictor
4.      Manual transmission only
5.      If you run a day-cab or sleeper, the chassis needs to have a wheelbase between 144” and 170” and have only one drive axle
6.      You run the ChampTruck spec DOT tire
7.      You remove the saddle tanks and install an approved fuel cell behind the cab
8.      You remove the interior and add a safety roll cage, a racing containment seat, safety harness fire system, and some protective intrusion or bumper-bars to the front, side and rear
9.      You remove all of the glass, except the windshield
The idea is that you get an older truck, prep it for safety, maybe stiffen the frame, and race it. Philosophically, this is very similar to ChumpCar, although the starting point is naturally more costly.
The Races
Most of the races are 10-15 lap sprint races on 2-3 mile road courses.  The events that take place at big oval tracks are run on the roval, not the oval. This is road racing in its traditional format.
The trucks must run standard drum brakes. With all that weight, apparently the brakes are good for 1-2 race weekends with a traditional sprint race length. We’ll bet the driving is pretty physical, too. We’ve driven semis, and the braking and shifting involves real effort. The steering involves planning ahead, too.
The current calendar has 10 races, starting in April.
Weird? Yes. Wonderful? Maybe. But before you pass judgement, take a look at this promotional video: