Sterling Trucks is entering a highly modified, 1,200-horsepower A-Line tractor in this year's world-famous Pikes Peak International Hill Climb July 4.
The second-oldest race in the U.S. is a 12.4-mile sprint through 156 turns on a gravel course up the side of Pikes Peak. It is open to a number of different vehicle classes, all of which race one at a time against the clock.
Shane Chapman from Auckland, New Zealand, will drive the Sterling racer. He is an experienced truck racer with 11 years of experience in both hill climbs and track racing. This is his first attempt at Pike's Peak.
The big Sterling is powered by a 14-liter Detroit Diesel Series 60 running through a six-speed automatic transmission. The engine is rated 1,200 horsepower at sea level, but will put out 850 horsepower at the 14,110-foot elevation at the end of the race. The course has a maximum grade of 10.5% and an average grade of 7%.
"It's handles beautifully," Chapman said. "It's built so strong - the engineers, technicians and suppliers who worked on it have gone all out. It's worthy of Pikes Peak. It's a proper, full-on race truck."
The Sterling A-Line racer incorporates a number of unique design features, including an axle-mounted Mercedes-Benz rack and pinion steering unit, a fabricated Hendrickson straight front axle with five locating links, Meritor four-piston hydraulic disc brakes, with a remote-mounted master cylinder under the cab, aluminum frame rails, and bolt-on full roll cage.
The massive DDC Series 60 diesel is located mid-chassis, behind the driver, and is mounted low on the frame, for optimum weight distribution. The engine pumps out 2,500 pounds-feet of torque at 1,500 rpm and has a governed engine speed of 2,600 rpm.
Chapman marveled at the truck's performance after a recent test run at Portland International Raceway. "When it shifted from fourth gear to fifth, the wheels were spinning and burning rubber. It has a heap of power," he said.