FIA ETRC regular Terry Gibbon eyes a switch to new engine for the 2019 season....
FIA European Truck Racing Championship regular Terry Gibbon is eyeing a switch to a common rail engine ahead of the 2019 season.
“The biggest modification we’re going to do for this year will be to change the engine," said the British racer.
"That’s what we’re working on at the minute to get the new common rail engine from MAN. The engine will be from Piedrafita but we need to get the budget in place to rent the engine for 2019,” he added.
Last season, Gibbon along with Dutchman Erwin Kleinnagelvoort, who fields a MAN-engined Scania, were the only users of the older, non-common rail spec of the MAN unit.
“With the engine, we used for the last two years, we’ve been a hundred horsepower less than the common rail engine and a 1000Nm of torque. According to Piedrafita, it’s worth between 1 and 1.5s per lap. It should be a good step in the performance of the truck,” assured the British racer.
With the improved performance, Gibbon is hopeful of becoming a top ten finisher on a regular basis in the upcoming season, something that he managed to achieve on two occasions last year.
“If all goes to plan, the back of the top ten, tenth or around ninth, is where I want to be this year.”
Grammer Truck Cup Wins a Target in 2019
In parallel to better overall performance, the T-Sport racer is planning to move up in the pecking order of the GRAMMER TRUCK CUP too.
“GRAMMER TRUCK CUP is a championship that we would like to do better in," said Gibbon.
"Hopefully, we’ll be in the running for the top three this year. We plan to enter the full season but we will be doing six of the eight.”
The engine upgrade is yet another step the T-Sport team took in order to improve their overall performance, with the last one being converting the truck from left-hand drive to right-hand drive before round five of the championship held at Czech Republic’s Autodrom Most.
“The truck was left-hand drive until the middle of last year and then we've changed it," he said.
"It’s positioning of the truck in the corners. It was not too bad but I wasn’t completely comfortable. Now, with the seat on the right hand, for me it’s perfect. I don’t need to think about driving now, it just happens.
“After we changed the cabin, I found a bit more speed in the truck too.
"I was driving a bit better and that’s what coincided with the better results. We’re down on power but we seem to be making time up on the chassis. It’s very good on the brakes and it’s very good with the way it handles, so we’re making the lap times in different areas.”
With the engine swap being the team’s main priority at the moment, there’s no pre-season testing plan in place yet.
“If we do testing, we go to Pembery in south Wales. It’s difficult to guarantee good weather, it’s nearly always raining!
"If you want to do wet testing, it’s fantastic. I would like to go [testing] when everybody goes to Most, for me that would be perfect, because you can test at the same circuit where everybody else is and try to get an idea of what the picture is before the first race weekend.”
Looking beyond this season, the T-Sport outfit is considering expanding to a two-truck operation.
“It’s something we would consider but it’s not in our plans just yet," said Gibbon.
"We want to concentrate on one truck, get it up to speed, keep our partners happy which we seem to be doing pretty well at the moment and maybe in two years we can look at an expansion,” concluded Gibbon.