Have you ever seen a dump truck race a Supercar? For the first time ever, along with partners Mobil 1 Racing, the event of this magnitude becomes a reality.
Following a trip to Queensland’s mining hot spot; the Bowen Basin earlier this year, professional race car driver James Courtney proposed a tantalising challenge to his Mobil 1 Racing teammate Scott Pye.
It is a suggestion so out of the left-field that nothing quite like it has been replicated around the world: the proposition of a Supercar facing off against one of Caterpillar 777F Dump Trucks.
The challenge initially surprised National Group managing director Mark Ackroyd, whose somewhat disbelief soon turned to sheer excitement.
“Mining equipment is definitely not seen racing around a track very often, they are usually busy moving tonnes of dirt from point A to point B,” Ackroyd commented pre-race.
National Group’s MD, like many others, was enthralled by the prospect of two dominant vehicles in their respective industries facing off in the pure terrain of his National Group-owned Quarry in Nebo Queensland.
“It will be an interesting matchup as our dump trucks are more well-known for their large engine capacity, the sheer size and brute force, race cars, on the other hand, are more about speed and agility, so we’ve put a few obstacles in the way to even the score,” Ackroyd continues.
“Let’s see if the king of the mines can out muscle the king of the racetracks, I’ll even start the race myself.”
It set the stage for a battle of the beasts, with absolutely no denying of the competitive nature of Courtney and Pye.
As Courtney hid the keys in his palm, Pye was challenged to choose a hand in order to decide which driver will operate each respective vehicle.
At this moment, Courtney sent a cheeky jab at his opponent Pye, “I’ll let you choose Scotty. I’m fairly confident I have got this either way.”
The result saw Courtney enter the starters line in the familiar surroundings of his Mobil 1 MEGA Racing car, while Pye rolled up in the colossal dump truck.
“This is not something you get to do every day. We drive for a living, but I’m sure this will be a totally different experience. We’re both looking forward to the challenge,” Pye said, with a hint of nerves.
The racecourse was set in a way so each vehicle could capitalise on their respective strengths – the Supercar must weave through obstacles to highlight its agility, while the sheer brute power of the dump trucks will be showcased as it streams forward in a straight line.
As the vehicles waited to start the race, Pye exclaimed: “this thing is huge… I’m about 20 feet off the ground.”
Mark Ackroyd started the race and as the supercar hit its first obstacle, the dump truck began to pick up momentum leading into the finish line. While Pye took the initial bragging rights, the challenge wasn’t quite over.
“Let me have a go mate, I’m curious to see myself how these big mining trucks handle,”
After switching vehicles and enjoying the power offered by National Group’s dump trucks, the two drivers had some time to reflect on the once-in-a-lifetime experience.
“Growing up, almost every little boy imagines themselves driving around big trucks. Thanks to the National Group, James and I got to be young kids again for the day! We had a ball,” Pye said.
Equally excited, Courtney shared his experience with Australian Mining, “the whole day was awesome! When you’re involved in motorsports, you love anything with an engine, no matter the shape or size.”
For the National Group, the race highlights an opportunity for the mining and racing communities to come together and celebrate the relationship that exists with Mobil 1 MEGA Racing.
“Today was a great opportunity to showcase our partnership with the Mobil 1 MEGA Racing and most of all have some fun combining our industries’ machines together for a never before seen event,” Ackroyd said.
As Courtney and Pye head back to the busy schedule of the professional race car tour and National Group staff work on their next fleet of mining vehicles, this race will undoubtedly be etched in the memory of both drivers for a while to come.