Big rig stunt and race driver Mike Ryan teamed up with Gale Banks of Banks Power to redesign the compound turbo setup on his Freightliner race truck for this year’s Pikes Peak International Hill Climb. Mike had previously been running turbos designed for tractor pulls. The problem is the setup only made power at high engine rpm’s and it wasn’t getting enough air into the Detroit Diesel inline-6 at low rpm’s. This made the truck sluggish accelerating out of the turns on the hill climb. Gale Banks thought it would be more useful for Mike to have a super-turbo which is also known as twincharging. This is when an engine has both a belt-driven supercharger for low rpm boost and an exhaust-driven turbocharger for efficient high rpm boost. Banks Power also adapted a fuel injection system for use with a water and methanol mixture. Meth injection is used before and after the supercharger as well as being directly injected into the cylinders to lower the temperature of the compressed air for more efficient combustion. They also designed a water fogger system to cool the intercooler and the front brakes of the truck. The end result is 2,500 horsepower and 5,000 foot-pounds of usable low-rpm torque. Gale Banks explains all of the upgrades in this interview:
Here’s some race footage of the Freightliner on course at Pikes Peak. Mike and Gale talk about the effectiveness of the super-turbo system at the end. The course was pretty wet this year which resulted in slower times, but these two guys want to come back for 2014 and be the first semi in the 11-minute range.
9 time World Rally Champion and X-Games Rallycross gold medalist Sebastien Loeb made history last month by demolishing the record for the Pikes Peak International Hill Climb in Colorado. He piloted the purpose built Peugeot 208 T16 whose construction began in January of 2013. Luckily the engineers at Peugeot were able to raid the parts bin from their recently retired 908 diesel hybrid Le Mans race car. The front torsion spring suspension, engine air intake and rear wing are parts directly from the 908. The 3.2 liter, twin turbo, 60 degree V6 was also developed for competition at Le Mans in the Pescarolo-run C60. The engine makes 875 horsepower giving the 875 kg (1929 pounds) car an impressive power to weight ratio. Peugeot considered adapting the diesel hybrid drivetrain from the 908, but there simply wasn’t enough time to make it work. Time was also the main consideration for the decision to go with a tubular steel chassis instead of a modified unibody or carbon tub. Downforce produced by the 208 T16 is on par with a Le Mans prototype car which gives full utilization to the 2014 Le Mans spec Michelin tires and 18×13 wheels.
Loeb and Peugeot’s performance are really going to shake things up for Pikes Peak in years to come. To put things in perspective, Rhys Millen was able to beat his course record from last year by a full 44 seconds and was still 49 seconds behind Sebastien Loeb who posted an 8:13.878. Success breeds success so Peugeot may still unleash the technologies that they didn’t have time for this year. I’m sure they’d love to return to the glory of their back-to-back victories in 1988 and 1989 using what they had learned from the Group-B rally era. There’s some talk of them being the first to break into the 7-minute range next year. Until then, enjoy Red Bull’s on-board footage of this year’s run which was the first ever time posted in the 8-minute range:
Sources: June 2013 issue of Racecar Engineering, Autoblog and Red Bull on YouTube
The Fast Lane checks out the Toyota Motorsports Group EV P002 and the Mitsubishi i-Miev Evolution to see what incremental improvements were made to take on the mountain this year. Both cars are now capable of more power output and downforce compared to how they ran during 2012. The video include interviews with the engineers and footage from their practice sessions.
Mitsubishi was gracious enough to grant Autocar a test drive of their i-Miev Evolution electric race car that competed in this year’s Pikes Peak International Hill Climb. Despite a crash in practice, the i-Miev Evolution did well to finish second in the EV class and ninth overall. Mitsubishi campaigned a stock i-Miev alongside this purpose built tube frame race car. At first glance, the two cars only seem to share a greenhouse shape, bit it turns out the i-Miev Evolution uses three i-Miev motors and two of its battery packs. Two of the motors drive the rear wheels while the last one powers the front wheels on the Evolution version. We’re not going to see a street version of this exact car, but a lot of things learned from its development are going into the next Lancer Evolution which Mitsubishi has already gone on record to say will be a performance hybrid.
The Pikes Peak International Hill Climb organization released this compilation of highlights from this year’s event. 2012 was exciting since the road surface was fully paved for the first time resulting in many broken records. There was also a very strong showing in the electric vehicle class from Monster Tajima, Toyota, Yokohama and EV West. Hit our “Pikes Peak” tag to see all of our coverage.