Reliable Kenworth T660 Transporters Help Carry Champion Racing on American Le Mans Series
POMPANO BEACH, Fla. – When Marco Werner puts the throttle down, his diesel rig comes to life through his 650-hp engine with twin turbochargers. Top speed? A mere 190 miles per hour…enough to make any diesel junkie stand up and take notice.
Werner’s R10 TDI “rig” is a million dollar wonder – a sports car racing in the American Le Mans series. “It’s one of only a few diesel race cars used in competition and makes a statement that diesel fuel can power the highest performing vehicles in the world today and use less fuel than a gas engine,” said Mike Peters, director of motorsports for Champion Racing.
To get them from racetrack to racetrack for 2008 American Le Mans series events, Champion Racing’s truck of choice was another high-performing, fuel-efficient diesel rig, the Kenworth T660. Three silver-metallic Kenworth T660s carried all the equipment needed to keep Champion in front of the competition. The team’s two race cars finished first and second in the final season points standings.
Rick Clifton, transportation manager and lead driver for Champion, said the Kenworth T660 was the racing team’s logical choice to run due to Kenworth’s reputation for reliable and durable trucks, and cutting-edge looks.
“First and foremost comes reliability,” Clifton said. “Our prior experience with Kenworth has shown that the trucks are ultra-reliable and won’t let us down on the way to the racetrack. They’re also superbly engineered and look the part. They mirror our image of top performance.”
Clifton piloted the centerpiece Kenworth T660, which hauled a 53-foot trailer that carries two race cars on a top roll-off rack. The workstations and tools dominate the lower part of the trailer. The two other T660s haul parts in one trailer, and a composite body shop and spares in the other. “It’s the ultimate in a mobile shop for repairs and body work,” said Clifton, who has been a truck driver for 33 years, the past 15 years with Champion Racing.
While the Champion Kenworth big rigs get plenty of attention on the road – “you wouldn’t believe the rubber-necking when we roll by,” Clifton said the paddock is full of admirers as well. “When we started coming to the track in the Kenworth T660s, truck drivers for the other teams came over to take a look. Everyone in our business can appreciate quality and the T660s sure deliver.”
According to Clifton, he and the other drivers like the comfortable and quiet ride the T660s deliver. “And the headlight system is great. We don’t drive a lot at night, but when we do, the headlights really shoot out a beam to make night driving easy. We also have the Kenworth GPS Navigation System. It makes travel simple – we get where we’re going in the shortest amount of time so we can get set up and start testing for the race.”
Spec’d with the Kenworth Studio sleeper package, the set-up allows the drivers to use the sleeper area as a workstation. “It’s well appointed and a great place to lounge or work when needed,” said Clifton.
The team received excellent support from Kenworth of South Florida, its Kenworth dealer. “We don’t drive a ton of miles, so we don’t need servicing very often, but when we do, Kenworth of South Florida gets us handled quickly and professionally. They’re great to do business with,” Clifton said.
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