Goodyear at the Nogaro Truck Race (The story of a driver and team who take part for the passion)
Nogaro, France - Jochen Hahn in the Castrol Team Hahn Racing MAN racing on Goodyear tires continues to lead the FIA European Truck Race Championship after the fourth round, which took place at Nogaro, France on June 23 and 24.
On the Saturday, the first race was won by Antonio Albacete in the Equipo Cepsa MAN and the second race was won by Dominique Lacheze in the Truck Sport Lutz Bernau MAN. On Sunday Antonio Albacete in the Equipo Cepsa MAN won the first race and Anthony Janiec in the Team 14 Renault won the second. The next event will take place at Donington Park in the UK on June 30 and July 1.
It is refreshing that in truck racing there are some people who take part for the love of it rather than for the money. This is particularly true of 27-year-old driver Anthony Janiec and Team 14, for which he drives.
Anthony Janiec is unlike many of the other drivers, he is not a truck driver by profession nor is he involved in the transport industry. He owns a small construction company in his native France and has long had a passion to be a racing driver. In 2007 he trained to be a single-seater car racing driver. However the budget was too difficult to find and he was introduced into the world of truck racing instead. He accepted the challenge and has really taken to the sport.
Team 14 not only races a Renault but most of the team work for Renault, either in testing or quality service. They are also all volunteers, who take part in truck racing for the love of the sport.
“It is all about passion for us as a non-profit making team. We are an association of people who enjoy what we do – we are not trying to make money out of it. We formed the team and then found our driver Anthony,” said team manager Dominique Kolow. “He is a great driver. Good mood – positive spirit – a pleasure to work with. He also is very good at explaining if anything is wrong with the truck and is a good motivator for the team.”
The Team 14 racing truck is a Renault Premium. It has a 13 liter Renault DXI13 engine that in standard form produces 500 horsepower but the race version develops more than 1060 bhp. The Renault has a series-built ZF 16-speed gearbox. However when racing, the drivers usually use only two or sometimes three gears – with so much power only the two highest gears are needed. The fuel used is racing diesel, which is more refined that road diesel. Disc brakes are used to stop the truck, which weighs 5.5 tonnes and is limited to the maximum permitted top speed of 160 km/h. As to its value, it is difficult to calculate but it probably has a market value of as much as 150,000 euros and that is without the engine which is leased.
The truck races on Goodyear Truck Racing tires. These are made especially for racing; they are softer and have a shorter life but they give much better grip than ordinary tires. ”Tires are the only point of contact between the truck and the track,” said Anthony. “This makes the tires absolutely crucial to the truck’s performance, in particular to its handling.” During a race weekend the team will use between eight and 12 tires. It depends on the track - on some they use more tires than on others. The regulations however allow a maximum of 12 tires to be used at each event.
Although the team is run by volunteers, it consistently wins championship points. Anthony’s best result so far was a third place at Le Mans in 2010, with Le Mans being Anthony’s favorite circuit since the days when he raced cars.
Pressure can be a problem for drivers but not for Anthony, “I don’t really get stressed at races. I am quite relaxed over a racing weekend but very tired when I get back. I warm myself up physically to help me to concentrate better but I am not really stressed.”
Between races, the team runs tests to make sure the truck is in top form. They often use a small track at the Renault Trucks cab factory in Blainville-sur-Orne in Lower Normandy. The team can test components there but cannot really test at speed. There is a workshop there too. For high speed testing they sometimes rent other tracks in France.
Truck racing is a very competitive sport but there is an extremely strong camaraderie between the competitors. Although on the track they will do everything to beat each other, off the track they will always help each other.