Truck racer ready to take on Pike's Peak Hill Climb

| 6/30/2006

On Saturday, July 1, big rig racer Mike Ryan will try to beat his own record at the 84th Annual Pikes Peak International Hill Climb will drive in his Mercedes Benz-powered Freightliner Century Class S/T Super Truck.

Also known as “The Race to the Clouds,” the big rig race, held just outside of Colorado Springs, CO, is the second oldest motor sports event in the U.S. after the Indianapolis 500. Ryan is currently the record holder with a total of five records and eight wins. The course runs 12.46 miles through 156 turns, climbing nearly one mile in elevation to reach the 14,110-foot summit of Pikes Peak. The run up the mountain is mostly dirt with no guardrails, making for challenging driving conditions. Ryan currently holds the record, which is 12.46.81.

Competing against Ryan in the big rig class is four-time New Zealand B Class Truck racing champion Shane Chapman. A former record holder of the Queenstown, New Zealand “Race to the Sky” Hill Climb, Chapman took second place at the Pikes Peak International Hill Climb in 2000.

Chapman will be driving a 2004 Panoz racing chassis, equipped with Haldex water-cooled air brakes. Power comes from a 14-liter Detroit Diesel Series 60 engine, heavily modified with twin turbochargers. The engine produces 1,400 horsepower, and 3,000 lbs.-ft. of torque. Power is transmitted to the ground via a World Series Allison six-speed automatic transmission, and delivered through Michelin tires.

Ryan will be racing his one-of-a-kind Freightliner Century Class S/T race truck that was designed specifically for the hill climb. It’s equipped with a 1,250 hp Mercedes-Benz engine and has 2,700 lbs.-ft. of torque. The transmission is a ZF five- speed that has been modified for racing. Suspension is a four-link front end and three-link rear end, much like a sprint car. With a weight of 8,000 pounds, speeds have been reached of more than 100 mph.

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