You know that old saying "If it ain't broke, don't fix it"? The team at All German Motorsports has thrown that aphorism out the window, along with any preconceptions of how a trophy truck competing in the SCORE series should be built. AGM has built the first-ever BMW X6 trophy truck. It looks like a run-of-the-mill X6 -- on steroids.
All German Motorsports, established in 1998 by Martin Christensen, has built a trophy truck that looks and feels unlike any other trophy truck currently competing. And while the concept may seem simple -- create a unique, lightweight truck -- the construction was not. The team knew it was going to create a truck with four wheels, an engine in front, two shocks per corner, and a live-axle rear end. But that's where the similarities to the traditional trophy truck ended. Since some parts didn't exist, the team had to create them. The motor-mount plate, serpentine belt pulley set, and front spindle assemblies had to be built from scratch.
For this the team turned to Mike Meziere. Mike and his team at Meziere Enterprises spent hundreds of hours designing and building the custom parts. The upside to creating so many custom parts was that they were able to choose materials that would result in a lighter truck. While most trophy trucks weigh 6500 pounds, the AGM X6 is just over 4500--a 2000-pound weight advantage compared with everyone else in its class. (It also weighs about 300 pounds less than the lightest stock X6.) The chassis, built by Jimco Racing, was hundreds of pounds lighter than the normal trophy truck frame, and the body, built by McGrath Fiberglass, is carbon fiber and also lighter than traditional trophy truck bodies.
To power the truck of the future, AGM chose a 725-hp V-8 Denzio-built BMW engine. And to create the signature trophy truck growl, AGM built an ultra-light exhaust with a multiflow 4-in-1 exhaust system. With all the ingenuity in this truck, you'd think it took years to build. But AGM's BMW X6 was running and driving just seven months from the time the work began.
One of the first things Martin noticed when testing the truck was that the lighter weight meant the truck reacted differently than a normal trophy truck. Because the brakes weren't working as hard to slow it down in the corners, Martin was able to brake later than everyone else. He was also able to accelerate out of the corners faster. These two things should give the team the upper hand over everyone else once the truck is dialed in.
Bryan Lyttle, AGM's crew chief, had some thoughts as to why other teams are hesitant to change the mold of the typical trophy truck. "Most teams do not go out of the norm, in design or in technical design. It is easier to build what everybody else has. I don't think you learn anything by doing that."
So far, overall reactions have been positive overall. Fans and competitors alike come up and congratulate the team on their truck. There's also a fair share of teams watching to see how the truck will do, likely to judge in what direction they want to take their own trophy trucks.
AGM decided to use the 2011 SCORE Baja 1000 as the test run. They decided not to push the car to its limits, instead using the time to work out the kinks and learn from the experience. After changing two tires and a transmission during the race, they were ready to tweak the truck and take on the 2012 season of SCORE.
The first event of the 2012 season was the Laughlin Desert Challenge. The trophy truck class would do eight laps around the 6.25-mile desert course. It was the perfect event for the X6's first official race. The race format makes logistics simple. There's no need to organize 10 crews of guys and multiple pit stops across the peninsula. The entire race can be run from one location. The team was able to pay close attention to any problems the truck was having, try to make adjustments in a timely manner, and take notes for future events. Unlike in past years, each day of the two-day event would count as a race. This gave AGM the chance to win two races as opposed to one. But there was a problem: Laughlin has always been AGM's Achilles' heel. Whatever the team does, it can't seem to finish the race. The curse, as the team calls it, has been going on since 2004. Unfortunately, it continued: 3.5 miles into Saturday's race, driver Armin Schwarz was forced to end early when the rear axle broke. But the team wasn't defeated; it instead took action to have the truck ready for the race the next day. Watching the AGM team in action is like taking a look inside a beehive: It's quiet, composed chaos. Each team member has a responsibility to get the truck race-ready. And in no time it was up and running.
Sunday was the team's second chance to get the truck to the finish line. It managed a 10th-place finish after starting last in class and overcoming drivetrain issues resulting in a slower pace. Although the event wasn't a complete success, they were able to gain points toward a championship, and show how they could rally as a team. Lyttle had a positive account of the weekend. "We faced a whole slew of issues. But in true AGM fashion, our team of volunteers stepped up and repaired each issue as it arose, keeping us in the race. From the fire during testing to broken driveline components, our team never quit."
When this truck comes around a corner, you can't help but pay attention. With its matte black finish, SUV-style chassis, and gigantic wing, it looks like the trophy truck of the future. AGM hopes it is.
|BMW X6 Trophy Truck|
|Chassis||Jimco AGM 2012 X6|
|Track width, in||770|
|Suspension, f/r||Control arm, 25-inch travel, Meziere Enterprises hubs and spindles, Eibach springs, Fox 2.5 coil-over with Fox 3.0 bypass, AGM suspension sliders, ORW limit straps/Multilink, 32-inch travel, Meziere Enterprises hubs and spindles, Eibach springs, Fox 2.5 coil-over with Fox 3.5 bypass, AGM suspension sliders, ORW limit straps|
|Engine||V-8 prototype engine, built and tuned by Danzio Performance, custom engine plates and serpentine pulley set from Meziere Enterprises|
|Transmission||Fortin FRST4, four-speed sequential w/TCS torque converter|
|Fuel capacity, gal||90.0, Fuel Safe cell|
|Ignition||Life Racing F-88 Control unit, Life Racing PDU-32, Motec Race Dashes w/data logging. Programmed by Danzio Performance|
|Tires, in||3712.5017 BF Goodrich Baja T/A KR|
|Wheels, in||17.0 Method Racing|
|Body/paint||RCP-designed BMW X6 body, built by McGrath Fiberglass, painted by Collisions Plus|
|Seats/belts||Recaro Profi SPA seats, Schroth Racing 5-point latch and link harnesses|
|Brakes||Alcon six6-piston calipers, 14-inch rotors|