New Zealand truck racing team sticks with Allison transmission for land speed record attempts
Dave West Motorsport is building on its national truck racing success to take on land speed records in Freightliner M2 Supertruck with slightly modified Allison 4500 Series
AUCKLAND – Dave West Motorsport, a race team competing in the New Zealand Supertruck Racing Championships, is building a custom Freightliner M2 Supertruck with an Allison 4500 Series™ fully automatic transmission as part of an attempt on the New Zealand and World land speed records for heavy trucks over both 0-500 metres and 0-1,000 metres.
The truck is an evolution of the team’s original, highly successful Freightliner Arogsy machine that has captured multiple class wins as well as taking a second and a third in the overall NZ Supertruck Racing Championships.
In the Freightliner Arogsy chassis-based race truck, the Allison 4500 Series transmission, which has been slightly modified for racing, is paired with a special mid-mounted Detroit Diesel Series 60 “Legacy” engine. The transmission’s outstanding performance and reliability led it to be fitted to the latest project, which will also be powered by a similar Detroit Diesel Series 60 modified race engine.
The Allison transmission and custom TCM were supplied by Allison’s New Zealand distributor, TransDiesel Ltd. The Detroit Diesel Series 60 “Legacy” engine was modified for racing purposes by Terry Bistue of Detroit Diesel USA, while its DDEC engine management system has been custom programmed and uses a twin compounded turbo system, using approximately 70psi boost, and producing 1,700 horsepower, along with a massive 4,000l lb-ft of torque.
Despite such high horsepower and torque outputs the team has had remarkable reliability and race performance from the start. The only issue reported has been a minor early problem with flex plates breaking under extreme load while racing. However, TransDiesel formulated and implemented some engineering modifications and the issue is now a thing of the past.
In 2015, Dave West Motorsport became the first race team in New Zealand to use the Allison 4500 Series fully automatic transmission, citing its six speed option as suitable to its requirements. It allows engine speed (rpm) to kept down whilst maintaining the governed maximum speed of 100 mph (160km/h), which is mandated by the world motorsport authority, the FIA.
The other deciding factor behind the choice of the Allison 4500 Series was the transmission TCM’s direct interface with the DDEC engine management system.
According to team spokesman Blair Jacobs, the Allison fully automatic transmission has only ever needed regular maintenance and has never been opened in the seven years since it hit the racetrack.
“The choice of the Allison was a ‘no brainer’ as far as we were concerned,” said Jacobs. “We wanted direct plug and play electronics so that engine and transmission would talk to each other without any complicated re-wiring or issues. This allows us to custom tune shift points and wheel speed management for multiple tracks and weather conditions.”
The truck has proved a real favourite with New Zealand racing fans, not only in the NZ Supertruck Championship but with drag fans at burn out competitions around the country and on the hill climb course, at the world-renowned Kiwi motorsport event, The Leadfoot Festival at Hahai on the Coromandel Peninsula near Auckland.