Mike Ryan knows a thing or two about going fast in semi trucks: he is, after all, the nine time Pike’s Peak class winner in his custom built Freghtliner race truck. Despite the fact that the truck weighs in at 5 tons, it’ll still turn a 13.2 quarter mile, thanks to the 14.7 liter, compound-turbo Detroit Diesel engine that puts out some 1,950 horsepower. In its current gearing, the truck will top out around 108 miles per hour, but you get the feeling it’s capable of much more with shorter gears. Not bad for an oil burning inline six.
The suspension is scratchbuilt, since Freightliner doesn’t have too many customers asking for maximum lateral grip. The tires, surprisingly, are stock Michelin X1 radials, the same as you’re likely to find on an over-the-road semi. Take a look at the treadwear 1:56 into the video, and you’ll realize that the tires were NOT designed with drifting in mind. The fact that they hold up to such abuse at all just blows my mind, and I certainly hope that Michelin is one of Mike’s sponsors. I wouldn’t want to pay for a set of those tires out of my own pocket.
The best part of the video starts at 3:00 in, when Mike drifts the truck around a Fox-platform Mustang driving on two wheels. Is it a bizarre, redneck tribute to Ken Block’s Gymkhana, or is it the start of an entirely new motorsport (Gymkhana XL)? You be the judge.