600bhp pick-ups with zero grip and mid-air overtakes: where do we sign?
What’s this all about?
The pet project of former NASCAR driver Robby Gordon, it’s a one-make series for identical pick-up- style buggies with giant wheels, giant horsepower (600bhp+) and, most spectacularly, some giant jumps. Imagine a radio-controlled truck made real, minus the aerial. Type it into YouTube and prepare to lose an afternoon.
Where do they race?
Originally in American football stadiums (hence the name), but these days on practically any surface, from dirt arenas to city street circuits supporting IndyCar and Australian V8 Touring Car championships. The latter add a little spice with metal ramps on the straights firing the trucks 20ft-plus into the air.
What makes the trucks tick?
Chevy LS V8 engines with three-speed gearboxes, shoehorned into a steel spaceframe chassis teetering on XL suspension.
Top speed is around 140mph, and the trucks are designed to hit the ramps at around 70mph. Suspension set-up aside, all the trucks are near-identical, so the racing’s close!
Presumably there’s quite a lot of crashing?
Now and then. With such a tottering centre of gravity (the trucks are 5ft 12in high!), cornering is rarely conducted on four wheels, usually sideways, and rollovers are common. One infamous race in Adelaide involved the third-place man crossing the finish line upside down after a botched mid-air overtake.
Where can I watch it?
Trackside, you can catch the SST series supporting the Aussie V8 supercar championship down under (Oz’s BTCC), the IndyCar championship in the States (the USA’s Formula 1) or, more easily, at stadiumsupertrucks.com.