With more than half a million spectators, the FIA European Truck Racing Championship is the most popular FIA circuit racing series in Europe, next only to Formula 1. This year there will be nine events in seven countries, offering top-class motorsport and an excellent opportunity for companies from the automobile and commercial vehicle industries to showcase their latest product developments and engage intensively with their customers.
Race trucks from MAN, Renault, Iveco, Mercedes-Benz, Buggyra Freightliner, and Scania will be seen in action this season. Race-engineered to 1,200 PS and a brutal 5,500 Nm, their engines can propel these 5½-tonne missiles to their regulated top speed of 160 km/h in under 5 seconds.
The field will be led by reigning European champion Jochen Hahn (MAN) from Germany. The three-time champion will probably face his stiffest competition from Antonio Albacete (ESP) and Markus Bösiger (SUI). The Swiss returns to an MAN after almost a decade, having driven Renaults for the last few years.
The Renault trucks, which performed rather strongly in the last few seasons, are being entered by private teams from France and Great Britain in 2014. While they do possess considerable potential, they remain the biggest unknowns at the moment. But it’s once again the Freightliners of the Czech Buggyra team that will hold the balance of power — in particular multiple champion David Vršecký (CZE), who has delivered a string of strong results in the last few years, on several occasions snatching points and victories from the obvious favourites.
A new Iveco, which will be driven by former champion Gerd Körber (GER), and a completely newly built Mercedes-Benz driven by the youngster André Kursim, have both generated a tonnes of curious interest. The German driver-in-training is looking to emulate his compatriot Steffi Halm, who also began her truck racing career three years ago in a Mercedes-Benz and then went on to win the French championship for the last two years in her yellow MAN. This year she will concentrate exclusively on the European championship.
The 2014 FIA ETRC season kicks off at end-May in Misano on Italy’s Adriatic coast, and ends in mid-October, at the legendary Le Mans.