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  • On course with Racing truck driver Norbert Kiss and his Mercedes-Benz Race-Actros in Spielberg. On the road with the team from Tankpool24 Racing.
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    Truck Racer – The European Truck Racing Championship.

    Racing truck driver Norbert Kiss is on the road with the team from Tankpool24 Racing and his Mercedes-Benz Race-Actros in Spielberg.

    Ⓒ Bernhard Huber

1.050 horsepower.

The acceleration presses Norbert’s body into the racing seat – the Actros leaves the pit lane. Shift gear – third gear. Just before the starting bend, his body falls forward into the seat belt – and then the speed immediately presses him back into the seat again. Full speed ahead up to the second bend, fourth gear. The 1.050 hp push the racing Actros uphill. In the Jochen Rindt bend the first drops of sweat are running underneath his racing suit. It’s not just the heat in the cab – the thrill of it all is helping too. His pulse races. What power! Norbert is now fully concentrated on the next bend, his head and body are repeatedly thrown side to side in the racing seat. And again and again, there is that feeling: the truck might fly out of the damn bend at any minute.


Mercedes-Benz Race-Actros from Tankpool24 Racing in the pit lane.
Racing truck driver Norbert Kiss on course in Spielberg.

Optimum tuning.

And that is even though tomorrow is when things will really get serious. “Then we will know where we are,” says Norbert Kiss, racing truck driver for the Tankpool24 team. And then adds as an explanation: “That’s Spielberg. Here the starting position is extremely important because the course is only 2.1 kilometres long.” Norbert, who has taken off his helmet, wipes his face with his balaclava. The brake overpressure causes the truck behind him to whistle loudly. Coolant from the brakes flows onto the tarmac and across the box. The racing truck consumes twice as much water as diesel on the track.

  • Transport of the Mercedes-Benz Race-Actros.
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Hard work.

At this point the Tankpool24 racing team are already feeling the weight of two full days of work in their bones: on the Thursday before the race, the team arrived at the Red Bull Ring in Austrian Spielberg. From then on the cordless screwdrivers hum. “You know the routines inside out, even if the last race in Le Mans was seven months ago,” says team manager Markus Bauer. He undoes the tension belt which is fastened to the racing truck’s rear wheel.


The engine of the truck bearing the number 24 roars. The 772 kW of the OM 460 drone through the paddock. The first fans, walking through between the boxes, look in the direction of the Actros with respect. Slowly, the truck rolls down the ramp of the trailer. Hours pass before the team box is standing and the tools and spare parts are where they belong. The mechanics work until 11.00 p.m.: The Actros’s turbo charger needs to be replaced.


Fascination Truck Racing.

Norbert travels to the race from his home in Hungary. He has been in the racing business for twelve years. First in touring cars and later in trucks. “Racing with trucks fascinated me immediately. Now I have been doing it for six years,” he says, knocking on the side panelling of his Actros from above. He has already won the European Championship title twice. During the season the team meets up regularly. A race is held every few weeks. In winter they have fewer meeting dates. “What the team achieves here and the rest of the year for us is sensational. You need to remember that they all have regular jobs too,” says Norbert. He then gets into the Actros and discusses the new features with mechanic Stefan Honens.


Norbert Kiss and Stefan Honens discuss the optimum tuning of the Mercedes-Benz Race-Actros.
Mercedes-Benz Actros from Tankpool24 Racing in front of the Red Bull Ring in Spielberg, Austria.

Teamwork.

16 people work for the team and all of them sacrifice their leisure time for this passion. Norbert is standing in front of the truck and is discussing the optimum tuning of the truck with André Kursim, the second driver in the team, and Stefan. No one is pleased about the rain that is just starting. During the training runs everyone was using old tyres; there was no need to coax every last little bit out of the truck. “In this weather and with a torque of 5,500 Nm – that could be fun,” says Markus. He grins crookedly and glances at the smoking rear wheels. In the end the race management centre cancels the final warm-up. The track is just too wet. Video at RoadStars.