Tiff Needell of Fifth Gear is a legend in the world of automotive-review television programs.
We are smiling watching him race Volvo Trucks new FH versus the Koenigsegg One:1 around a racetrack at full speed.
The purpose of the video?
To show Volvo’s new i-Shift dual-clutch automatic transmission. This is a revolution in the world of heavy trucks, which are almost all still manual-shifted these days. 18 gears, each with a low and high range means a huge amount of clutching and shifting has always been a full-time expertise and attention requirement of heavy truck drivers. This may be changing, at least in Europe where the FH will launch first.
Volvo in the US has made a name for itself by offering luxury-car comforts for the big-rig driver.
But with the new automatic transmission — they are now adding a dash of sportiness into the equation.
A Volvo FH challenges one of the world’s fastest sports cars – a Koenigsegg One:1
An eight tonne Volvo FH against one of the world’s fastest cars – a Koenigsegg One:1. This is the scenario in the new Volvo film ‘Volvo Trucks vs Koenigsegg’. The aim is to put the new I-Shift Dual Clutch gearbox, based on a technique used in sports cars, to the ultimate test.
Volvo Trucks’ unique I-Shift Dual Clutch gearbox is tested in the new online video, ‘Volvo Trucks vs Koenigsegg’. In the film a Volvo FH comes up against a Koenigsegg One:1, with a 1:1 power to weight ratio. This means the car has as much horsepower as weight (1360 kgs), making it the world’s first ‘Mega car’. In order to stand a fair chance, the Volvo FH received a smaller handicap which means that the truck drives one lap while the Koenigsegg drives two. Despite this, the conclusion was still unpredictable. The purpose of the challenge was to put the new Volvo I-Shift Dual Clutch gearbox to the ultimate test.
“I-Shift Dual Clutch has a dual-clutch, which is quite unique in the heavy vehicles market. However, similar technology already exists in sports cars. Therefore, this was the perfect challenge,” says Jeff Bird, Press Test Director at Volvo Trucks.
The similarities between the Volvo FH truck with I-Shift Dual Clutch and sports cars include includes the driveability that comes with seamless gear shifting. At the Knutstorp race circuit in southern Sweden, a track that is known for its hilly terrain and demanding turns, the evidence would be revealed.
“It may seem like a different environment for a heavy truck, but the fact is that I-Shift Dual Clutch is most useful in conditions that require a lot of gear shifting. The gearbox’s seamless gear changes improve driveability tremendously,” says Jeff Bird.
Behind the steering wheel of the Volvo FH is the experienced motor racing personality Tiff Needell. Without revealing the results, Tiff – who had never raced in a truck before – admits that he was impressed by the performance of the vehicle.
“I-Shift Dual Clutch is absolutely incredible. It is particularly noticeable on gradients, the truck does not hold back – it just flows smoothly, without the gear changes being felt. When you brake, it switches down very softly and comfortably. The truck definitely has the heart of a sports car,” says Tiff Needell.
Volvo Trucks’ new dual-clutch gearbox was launched in Europe in June this year and is available on all markets selling Volvo FH with Euro 6 D13 engines with 460, 500 and 540 horsepower.
Volvo Trucks vs Koenigsegg – see how the race went here (YouTube link)
Volvo Trucks vs Koenigsegg – behind the scenes (YouTube link)
Film “The Casino” (YouTube link)
Film on I-Shift Dual Clutch (YouTube link)
Animation on I-Shift Dual Clutch (YouTube link)
About I-Shift Dual Clutch
– I-Shift Dual Clutch can in principle be described as two gearboxes that are connected in parallel. When one gear is active in one gearbox, the next gear is pre-selected in the other gearbox. When changing gears, only one of the clutches needs to be disengaged at the same time as the other is engaged. This allows gear changes with no interruption in power.
– I-Shift Dual Clutch gearbox is based on the I-Shift gearbox. Despite many new components, the new gearbox is just 12 cm longer than a standard I-Shift, which is because of the new double clutch.
– I-Shift Dual Clutch changes gear without interruption in power when required. When driving where it is more optimal to skip gears, the transmission changes gears as a regular I-Shift.
– I-Shift Dual Clutch changes gears without interruption in power in all gears except for the range gear shift, which occurs when shifting from sixth to seventh gear.
– I-Shift Dual Clutch is available on the Volvo FH as a complement to the I-Shift and manual gearboxes.
– I-Shift Dual Clutch was launched in Europe in June this year and is available in all markets selling the Volvo FH with Euro 6 D13 engines featuring 460, 500 and 540 horsepower.
About the challenge
The challenge took place at the Knutstorp racetrack in southern Sweden. Before the race, 90 km/h speed limiter on the truck was removed to give the truck a better chance against the sports car. To create a really exciting challenge in the film, the Volvo FH drives one lap while Koenigsegg One:1 must drive two. The filming took place on a fenced track guarded by security personnel.
About the truck in the race
The truck, which was driven without a trailer, weighs eight tonnes, has 540 horsepower and is equipped with I-Shift Dual Clutch. As the functionality of its speed limiter was removed, the truck reached a speed of nearly 130 km/h on the track.
About Koenigsegg One:1
Koenigsegg One:1 is the world’s first series-produced ‘Mega car’ – that is the world’s first car with one horsepower per kilo. This means 1360 horsepower at 1360 kg, a combination that no sports car manufacturer has managed to achieve before. The engine delivers over 1000 Nm of torque between 3000 and 7500 rpm and is capable of 0-400 km / h in less than 20 seconds.
About Tiff Needell
Tiff Needell works as a TV presenter on the British motoring programme ‘Fifth Gear’. He has a long career behind him as a racing driver and has driven almost all types of vehicles and in almost every type of competition – everything from Formula One to the Le Mans 24 Hour race.
Tom Burkart is the founder and managing editor of Car-Revs-Daily.com, an innovative and rapidly-expanding automotive news magazine.
He holds a Journalism JBA degree from the University of Wisconsin – Madison. Tom currently resides in Charleston, South Carolina with his two amazing dogs, Drake and Tank.
Mr. Burkart is available for all questions and concerns by email Tom(at)car-revs-daily.com.