All aboard for Truck Test 2013!
I am delighted to report that the rules and regulations for Truck Test 2013 have been finalised. And, judging by the feedback we have already received, we’re expecting a full field of trucks
FOCUS readers will recall that we put extra-heavies to the test last year. Well, come April 2013, we will scrutinise 4×2 freight carriers with a legal carrying capacity of seven tonnes and over.
The test is being organised by FOCUS and Hellberg Transport Management (HTM). As was the case in 2012, the fuel is being sponsored by Engen while Ctrack is tending to our tracking needs. On this note, I would like to thank both companies for coming to the Truck Test party yet again!
The test will be run on April 15 to 17, 2013, and – as was the case last year – it’s NOT being run as a competition but rather as a demonstration of the vehicles’ capabilities.
Fuel consumption, trip times and productivity will be compared to theoretical results calculated on HTM’s TransSolve software. In the final report, mention will also be made of the gross combination mass (GCM) ratings of the vehicles to indicate their trailer towing capability.
The vehicles will be fitted with a curtainside (tautliner) body of 2,6 metres wide x 2,4 metres high (external dimensions), excluding the subframe. In terms of the rules, the body must occupy the full length of the chassis minus the minimum clearance required between the cab and the body. Shortening of the standard chassis rear overhang is allowed but no changes to the wheelbase are permitted.
Fritz Hellberg, chief convenor of the event, explains that the vehicle’s payload will be calculated by subtracting the vehicle’s spec sheet tare mass and the body mass (length in metres x 240 kg) from the V mass as weighed or its V-rating, whichever is the lower. “The vehicles’ V-ratings can vary between 13 500 and 16 500 kg. They can be loaded to their full V-rating. including a spare wheel, a driver and a full tank of fuel,” he adds.
In order to ensure that the results are meaningful to transport operators – who could certainly make purchasing decisions on the basis of the results of Truck Test 2013 – we are insisting that the vehicles are standard off-the-shelf (apart from the shortening of the rear overhang) and that they be fully legal.
Wind deflectors to improve the aerodynamics will be permitted on condition that an identical reference vehicle (minus aerodynamics) is also entered. I really hope that some companies do participate in this manner; I think the results will be most interesting.
Truck Test 2013 will be a three-day exercise. On day one, the vehicles will arrive at the Gerotek testing grounds (just outside Pretoria), where they will receive a top-up of Engen fuel before being weighed. The Ctrack mobile tracking systems will also be fitted, while the vehicles will be checked (to ensure that they are stock-standard) and their body lengths measured.
Day two will see the entrants being put to the test on the handling track, where they will do fixed stop-start routes, with stops dotted around the circuit and each one being compulsory. The starting sequence will be determined by a lucky draw.
On the same day the vehicles, still fully laden, will embark on a 300-km trip to Swartruggens (along the N4) and back. This will take about four hours. They will then be re-fuelled. Once the day’s testing has been concluded, the vehicles will be taken back to their own premises
Day three will commence with the entrants’ arrival back at Gerotek for a fuel top-up. They will then leave on the empty leg of the test to Swartruggens and back.
Strict rules and regulations will be in place throughout the event. The speed limits will be 80 km/h on the open road and 60 km/h in built-up areas. While the target top speed is 80 km/h, speeds of up to 85 km/h will be allowed. For every incident of an entrant exceeding 85 km/h, a time penalty of one minute will be added to their trip time.
Overtaking will be permitted, but only where it is safe and legal to do so. Tailgating will not be allowed.
At each stop, monitors in the vehicle will record time of arrival, speedo reading and time of departure on supplied log sheets. This information will be corroborated by data supplied by the tracking equipment. The tracking equipment will also monitor adherence to speed limits en route.
The results of the complete run will be revealed at an exclusive function on Friday, May 24. They will also be published in the May 2013 issue of FOCUS on Transport and Logistics and on www.focusontransport.co.za on May 24. I have no doubt that they will prove to be utterly fascinating!