Kenworth T2000 to race at Pikes Peak

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KIRKLAND, Wash., June 21, 2001 - Kenworth Truck Co. and Contract Freighters Inc. (CFI) are teaming up once again to race a Kenworth T2000 in the annual Pikes Peak International Hill Climb on June 30. Veteran racer and designer Bruce Canepa of ...

KIRKLAND, Wash., June 21, 2001 - Kenworth Truck Co. and Contract Freighters Inc. (CFI) are teaming up once again to race a Kenworth T2000 in the annual Pikes Peak International Hill Climb on June 30.

Veteran racer and designer Bruce Canepa of Santa Cruz, Calif. will pilot the Kenworth T2000/CFI Red Racer Peak Performer for the second consecutive year, taking on the challenging 12.42-mile course to the summit.

The Kenworth/CFI sponsored vehicle is entered in the Big Rig - Highway Division at the popular Colorado event. Canepa will drive a T2000 prepared by a volunteer team of 14 Kenworth engineers. The team has undertaken test runs at the PACCAR Technical Center in Mount Vernon, Wash. and at the Pikes Peak course earlier this month. Qualifying runs for the competition are slated for June 28.

"I'm excited to once again have the opportunity to race the T2000 at Pikes Peak," said Canepa, who has raced everything from go-karts to sprint cars to sports prototypes for many years. "Pikes Peak always is an incredibly challenging experience with ever-changing surfaces, blind switchbacks and drop-offs that fall out of sight. It keeps your 100% attention every moment of the run. But the goals again this year are the same - have fun and win."

Last year, Canepa drove the T2000 entry to a record-setting victory of 14 minutes 34.41 seconds in the tandem-axle division for semi (Class 8) trucks. Canepa and the T2000 averaged 51 miles per hour, especially impressive considering the course has 156 turns and rises from an elevation of 9,402 feet at the starting line to 14,110 feet at the finish line. Canepa passed the course's three major radar checkpoints at 81.6, 79.6 and 83.4 miles per hour, respectively.

"We've pulled together a solid Kenworth engineering team to back Bruce this year," said Mike Gilbert, Kenworth's Pike Peak team leader and assistant chief engineer. "Building on what we learned last year, we've reduced weight, increased horsepower, enhanced traction and improved handling to the point that we have a truck that is worthy of Bruce's talents as a driver. We expect to see a dramatic reduction in our times over last year."

According to Gilbert, the racing effort will be especially aided by the ZF 5HP500 Ecomat automatic transmission modified to racing specifications. "We've been extremely pleased with the ZF transmission because of its precise shifting and lightweight design," he said.

Gilbert noted that other Kenworth suppliers also play a key role in the racing effort. Official sponsors of Kenworth's Pikes Peak effort this year include Contract Freighters, Inc., ZF, ZFMeritor, Bridgestone, Bendix, DuPont, Eaton, Dana Spicer, Alcoa, Horton, Camfil Farr, Arvin Ride Control and ConMet.

Besides setting out to win, Gilbert said that Kenworth uses its Pikes Peak racing experience to help evaluate items that may eventually become available on Kenworth production models.

"Kenworth's AG200 suspension aluminum control arms and fully threaded control arm pins are two examples of items initially evaluated on our past Pikes Peak trucks before moving over to production," Gilbert said. "The Eaton I-80 steer axle and hydraulic disc brakes are examples on the medium duty side."

Gilbert also cited lightweight iron hubs compatible with disc brakes, and lightweight fabricated pusher steer axle - used as the race truck's front steer axle - as other examples.

"This year, we have some new items being evaluated with potential production application," Gilbert said. "These include ConMet aluminum hubs compatible with disc brakes, Horton Drivemaster fan hub, Kenworth AG200 suspension equipped with prototype paddle-spring sway bars, and Gabriel's 3-way adjustable gas front and rear shocks -- which use that firm's recently patented, acceleration-sensitive valve technology."

The Pikes Peak International Hill Climb is held in cooperation with the City of Colorado Springs and the U.S. Forest Service. The race attracts an international field of truck, auto and motorcycle competitors. The race's website is at www.ppihc.com.

CFI, an international truckload carrier based in Joplin, Mo., is a major Kenworth fleet operator. The company operates 2,000 tractors and 6,000 trailers and transports a variety of goods throughout the contiguous United States and Canada. In addition to its Joplin headquarters, CFI operates five terminals and its subsidiaries have 39 sales offices throughout North America and employs more than 2,700 people. CFI's website is at www.cfi-us.com.

Bruce Canepa operates Canepa Design in Santa Cruz, Calif. He has been designing custom road machines since childhood and now enjoys an international reputation as one of the finest and most versatile vehicle designers in the world. Canepa Design's website is at www.canepa.com.

Kenworth Truck Company, a division of PACCAR Inc, is a leading manufacturer of heavy and medium duty trucks. Kenworth's Internet home page is at www.kenworth.com.

-CFIR-

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Series HILLCLIMB