Volvo Trucks‘ custom-built The Iron Knight sets out to break world speed records

5 MinutesBy NZ Trucking magazineAugust 22, 2016

With 2400hp on tap, Volvo‘s new truck The Iron Knight will attempt to set new international speed records on August 24. With racing driver Boije Ovebrink behind the wheel, The Iron Knight will take a tilt at the world record in two categories: 500 and 1000 metres from standstill.

The Iron Knight is the result of collaboration between technicians, engineers and designers. With the exception of the engine and its series-built I-Shift Dual Clutch transmission, the truck is entirely custom-built. 

The team behind The Iron Knight described the task of designing the specially built truck as a tough challenge and a dream project for the technically minded. The powertrain is based on the same unit that sits in a road-going Volvo FH, but the engine has been pushed to its limits to produce maximum power.

“The Iron Knight is the perfect way to showcase the competence and innovative power of Volvo Trucks,” said Claes Nilsson, president and CEO of Volvo Trucks. “At the same time, our aim was to generate new insights into technical and design solutions. The intention is to transfer some of these to our series-produced trucks.”

The engine in the record-breaker is a mid-mounted and significantly modified D13 unit with water-cooled intercooler and four turbochargers, producing  2400hp and 6000Nm of torque. The electric and electronic systems have been scaled down and the software has been reprogrammed. All so that the highly tuned engine can communicate optimally with the transmission – an I-Shift Dual Clutch of the same model that is fitted to series-manufactured Volvo FH models. The only adjustment to the gearbox is its reinforced clutch, which is necessary to handle the remarkably high torque.

“In order to beat a world speed record, you have to have exceptional performance. The I-Shift Dual Clutch is the best possible transmission for the job since it maintains torque on the drive wheel during gear changes, just like a racing car does. Thanks to this The Iron Knight can accelerate without losing vital time during gear changes,” explains Niklas Öberg, test engineer at Volvo Trucks.

The Iron Knight is a tribute to the Volvo FH. It technology and design complement one another and every single detail – from the grille at the front to the side-skirts – fulfils a precise function. 

“The cab is made of fibreglass and designed to cut air resistance to an absolute minimum. The side-skirts give the truck an impressive stance with their large air ducts that supply the engine with cooling-air. The Iron Knight has an attractive and powerful design inspired by today‘s Volvo FH. You just have to look at the vehicle to realise that this is a truly fast truck. Even when it‘s at a standstill it looks like it‘s on the move,” said Nigel Atterbury, senior designer at Volvo Trucks.

On August 24 it will be possible to watch the record-breaking run on Volvo Trucks‘ social media channels. See the build up ahead of the record runs here:

The Iron Knight is not Volvo Trucks‘ first record-breaker. In 2007 ‘The Wild Viking‘ (1600hp) broke the official FIA record for the 1000 metre distance from standstill with an average speed of 158.8 km/h. The next record-breaker was the hybrid ‘Mean Green‘ (1800hp diesel engine plus 300hp electric motor) which in 2011 set two new world records in the hybrid category: 1000 metres at an average speed of 152.2 km/h and 500 metres at an average of 115.4 km/h.