Kamaz’s new truck comes from Russia with love
The Dakar’s most distinctive vehicle, Russia’s mighty Kamaz Master truck, has got a fresh new look.
The latest Kamaz Master, which had its competition debut in Russia recently, features a long bonnet: a bit like the classic Peterbilts that have formed a traditional part of the American automotive (not to mention movie) landscape since roads were invented. Who remembers Steven Spielberg’s Duel, from 1971? But this time, the Russian trucks are getting even with the sand dunes instead.
The new Kamaz Master truck is quite literally not just a pretty face. The elongated snout hides a plethora of new technology, which Kamaz Master aim to use in order to put themselves back into the winning position they are accustomed to.
This year, the previously dominant Russian squad, could ‘only’ manage second place on the Dakar, having previously racked up 13 victories. That hurt considerably. And significantly, the winning truck back in January (an Iveco, driven by Gerard de Rooy) was equipped with a long bonnet design; proof that there’s a shift in what makes an effective truck design these days for endurance rally.
So now the Russian team is back, with a brand new design of ultra-sophisticated truck. Or maybe not that new, as the ‘Kapotnik’ (as it is nicknamed) was first revealed about a year ago. Since then, the team have been adjusting it in order to create a winner, with Eduard Nikolaev (a two-time Dakar winner) entrusted with the new machine on its competition debut at a rally in Russia’s Rally Raid Gold Cup of Kagan.
Underneath the bonnet is an all-new 12.5l, 980-horsepower, diesel engine, capable of propelling the Russian leviathan to speeds in excess of 160kph via a 16-speed gearbox.
The new Kamaz Master isn’t quite ready to give away all its secrets though, and that’s why it wears a Red Bull ‘stealth’ livery: similar to the Red Bull Racing Formula 1 car in testing earlier this year, as well as the earliest incarnations of Peugeot’s Dakar-winning 2008 DKR.
As the biggest hero in Russian truck racing, and seven-time winner Vladimir Chagin (known as the ‘Tsar of the Dakar’ and now Kamaz team principal), points out: “We’re at the dawn of a new era of race trucks. Cab trucks demonstrate a number of technical benefits, and an important goal for us this season is to innovate as much as possible.
“We’ve got high hopes for our new cab truck, and the stealth Red Bull livery is a visual demonstration of just how much we’re pushing the cutting edge of technology.”
Make no mistake: the Russians are back. It’s time for their rivals to be very afraid.
Visit the manufacturer’s official web site.
Source – Redbull