The Australian Off Road Championship is preparing for a 2015 shake-up after the announcement that two of the biggest names in off-road racing are joining forces.
Team Toyo driver Brad Gallard and off-road legends Peter Kittle Motor Sport (PKMS) have announced that Gallard will assume steering duties in PKMS’ new trophy truck for the 2015 Australian Off Road Championship (AORC).
PKMS is in the final stages of completing the latest weapon in its off road racing arsenal.
The truck will be powered by a NASCAR-spec Toyota Racing Development PH9 V8, spinning some USA-style horsepower through an Albins ST6 high-speed sequential gearbox. It is anchored by Alcon rotors and calipers that are capable of quickly bringing the big truck down from speeds of 200km/h plus.
The truck’s lightweight rims will be shod exclusively with Toyo Open Country MT/Rs, a racing version of Toyo’s off-the-shelf mud terrain tyres.
PKMS team manager Rob Richardson is keeping details of the yet-to-be-completed truck’s specs understandably close to his chest.
“With Brad, we instantly get a top-shelf trophy truck driver with outright wins at Finke and Goondiwindi and class-leading podiums all over the country,” he said.
“Trophy trucks are really coming to prominence in off-road racing and ex-buggy drivers tend to want to drive trophy trucks like buggies.
“They are very different beasts: a truck has to be driven like a truck and we want to get on track with the right driver.
“We can assist him in sorting the truck out, but Brad’s knowledge in setting-up trophy trucks will be invaluable to us,” Mr Richardson said.
“With a lot of tight races on the calendar turbo buggies will always have an advantage, so while I would love to, I won’t say we are going for an all-out championship. That said we are absolutely aiming for a trophy truck class win in 2015.”
The truck will add an entirely new dimension to the PKMS racing program and draw the Brad Gallard #454 fan base to the PKMS team.
Off the back of third outright and a first place in the Extreme 2WD class at his home round at the Toyo Tires Riverland Enduro in Waikerie, fan-favourite Gallard is thrilled by the potency of the PKMS truck and is anxious to get behind the wheel.
“The truck is very strong, and I’m excited to get in it and drive. We will have a couple of shakedown runs this year to make sure I’m up to speed,” he said.
“Of course, we wouldn’t run anything but Toyo tyres on the new truck.”
Gallard’s long-time navigator Scott Modistach will be next to Brad in the new truck, which will retain number 454 and receive a brand new livery to be revealed in months to come.
“Scotty will still be sitting next to me, and I am keeping the same #454 team and number, but it will be great to join the PKMS camp.
“We will benefit from pooling with the PKMS team’s AORC experience; they have competed many times and have had a lot of success and wins.”
The announcement has set social media on fire, with many pundits tipping the combination of Gallard and PKMS to leave the rest of the 2015 AORC field in a wake of thick red dust.
“Brad Gallard is unstoppable behind the wheel of a trophy truck,” said Toyo Australia marketing manager Jose Angeles.
“His aggression is unmatched in the discipline, tempered only by his strategic and measured approach to every last inch of a race.
“The new Kittle truck is a fire-breathing beast, with the best parts, the best platform and the best rubber; with no compromises.
“Even the mildest of trophy trucks is a wild animal, and I can think of no one better equipped to tame the new PKMS brute than Brad Gallard,” Mr Angeles said.
Team Toyo’s Brad Gallard and the PKMS truck are locked in for all AORC rounds in 2015, with the new team to make its shakedown debut at a yet-to-be-confirmed date on the 2014 racing calendar.