Introducing MAN Truck Racing
Five questions to Björn Loose, Head of Marketing at MAN Truck & Bus and at the same time responsible for the company's motor sport activities.
1. Commercial vehicles and motor sport – what would you say makes this combination so fascinating?
Truck Racing is motor sport XXL. The trucks have more than ten times the torque of a Formula One race car. The massive acceleration of those turbocharged diesel engines on the tarmac - that's something the spectators feel in the pits of their stomachs. The brakes are water-cooled and the tyres almost 37 cm wide. A racetrack can be pretty narrow: when three trucks go into a bend together, tension is guaranteed. What makes this all even more fascinating is the atmosphere at races like the Truck Grand Prix at Nürburgring, those are real trucker festivals.
2. What motivates the commercial vehicle manufacturer MAN to commit itself so strongly to motor sport?
Anybody who has ever had anything to do with trucks is enthusiastic about Race Trucks: every trucker knows that at the heart of the vehicle there is series-production technology, and the drivers themselves are from the branch. For us, that's customer proximity par excellence. This applies in particular to the FIA European Truck Race Challenge, which takes place exactly where the fans of our brand are at home.
3. One doesn't automatically associate a sporting image with the image of a commercial vehicles brand. Is the motor sport image nevertheless helpful for developing the brand?
Commercial vehicle brands are perceived in exactly the same emotional manner as passenger car brands. Even a branch that calculates very closely consists of brand fans who enthuse over engines, speed and good, fair competition. We use truck racing to emotionally charge the MAN brand. At the same time, the race weekends give us the opportunity to come into direct contact with our fans.
4. What is it that makes motor sport with commercial vehicles so different and perhaps even more attractive and exciting than other motor-sport series?
The trucks racing one another today in the European Truck Championship are near-series vehicles. That is what makes it possible for many of the committed teams to take part in the Championship and develop their own suspension, for example. What we are seeing here is racing you can get your hands on. As opposed to Formula 1, fans can come right up close to the pits and the drivers are not screened off by security personnel.
5. Does the experience gained in motor sport flow into the day-to-day business, for example in technical development?
Yes, there is a transfer of technology: in Nuremberg, our racing-engine development is closely meshed with engineers who are working on the next generation of series-production engines. The extreme pressure of racing provides information that we use in development, in order, for example, to make our series production technology even more reliable. One common objective stands out for our series vehicles and our sport: we want to continually improve the efficiency of our products. And in motor sport we also gain insights that are important for everyday transport on the road.