Volvo targets speed records with Iron Knight

The Iron Knight is the result of cooperation between technicians, engineers and designers at Volvo Trucks. With the exception of the engine and its series-built I-Shift Dual Clutch transmission, the truck is entirely custom-built. With 2 400 hp on tap, the truck will attempt to set new international speed records. On August 24, the record runs will be shown on the Volvo Trucks YouTube channel.

A tough challenge and a dream project for the technically-minded. That’s how the team behind The Iron Knight describe the task of designing the specially built truck. 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. 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,” says Claes Nilsson, president and CEO of Volvo Trucks.

The engine in the record-breaker is a mid-mounted and significantly modified D13 unit with water-cooled intercooler and four turbochargers, producing 2 400 hp and 6 000 Nm of torque. The electric and electronic systems have been scaled down and the software has been re-programmed. 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,” says Niklas Öberg, test engineer at Volvo Trucks.

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

Nigel Atterbury, senior designer at Volvo Trucks, says, “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.”

With racing driver Boije Ovebrink behind the wheel, The Iron Knight will take a tilt at the world record in two categories: 500 and 1 000 metres from standstill. On August 24 it will be possible to watch the record-breaking run on Volvo Trucks’ social media channels.

The Iron Knight – a record-breaker

– With 2 400 hp, 6000 Nm of torque and weighing 4,5 tonnes, The Iron Knight has a power-to-weight ratio above 0,5 hp/kg.
– The mid-mounted engine is a significantly modified D13 unit with water-cooled intercoolers and four turbochargers.
– The I-Shift Dual Clutch transmission maintains torque delivery during gear changes. Apart from a reinforced clutch (the discs and pressure plates are made of a sintered material), The Iron Knight uses the same gearbox that is fitted to series-manufactured Volvo FH trucks.
– Electronics kept to a minimum to lower the vehicle’s weight.
– The software has been re-programmed to permit the high performance.
– The cab is aerodynamically optimised, made of fibreglass. Large air intakes in the side-skirts to supply the engine with cooling-air.

Volvo Trucks’ previous record-breaking trucks
The Iron Knight is not Volvo Trucks’ first record-breaker. In 2007 ‘The Wild Viking’ (1 600 hp) broke the official FIA record for the 1 000 metre distance from standstill with an average speed of 158,8 km/h. The next record-breaker was the hybrid ‘Mean Green’ (1 800 hp diesel engine plus 300 hp electric motor) which in 2011 set two new world records in the hybrid category: 1 000 metres at an average speed of 152,2 km/h and 500 metres at an average of 115,4 km/h.