SCORE Journal


SCORE Journal - The Official Publication of SCORE Off-Road Racing

Issue link:

Contents of this Issue


Page 78 of 90

The Next Gen Trophy Truck Brenthel Industries unleashes the Gen 3 design built especially for driver ergonomics By Larry Saavedra Photography courtesy Brenthel Industries Trophy Trucks are incredibly powerful machines, capable of producing tremendous speeds. But sometimes it takes more than raw horsepower to win a race. According to racer and race-car builders Jonathan and Jordan Brenthel of Brenthel Industries, driver ergonomics and comfort must play a big factor in the build process too. The company charged full-steam into the design of what it calls a Gen 3 Trophy Truck that fully integrates the wants and needs of the driver in the thought process of the build. No doubt, it’s been a long road for the Brenthel brothers to get to this point, but they believe their dedication to the craft has paid off with the recent introduction of their new race vehicle. Their previous model, Gen 2 design, saw success at the highest stakes of off-road desert racing. They refused to rest on past achievements, however, using their success to build what they believe is a “100 percent new” ground-up next generation SCORE Trophy Truck, which they say is dramatically improved upon the previous generation. The Gen 3 uses a Danzio 1,100 horsepower engine with a Culhane Turbo 400 transmission and has a wheelbase of 125 inches with a track-width of 91 inches. It weighs in at 5,750 pounds race-ready, and runs on 40-inch BFGoodrich tires. A Look at the Stats A quick look at the company’s stats of both generations of vehicles shows exactly where the company focused its attention. The new Gen 3 gained three inches of front wheel travel and four inches of rear-wheel travel over the previous model. The Gen 3 also incorporated a Swingset style steering rack instead of the traditional rack & pinion rack used in the Gen 2 trucks. The advantages of Swingset designs are critical to drivers, providing virtually no unwanted feedback in the steering wheel, as well as eliminating bump steer which Brenthel believes improves drivability. According to the company, as the suspension cycles, the steering moves in a predictable arc that allows the driver to point and shoot the truck regardless of how rough the turns are. In a recent interview, Trophy Truck and Class One driver Josh Daniels summed up the new Gen 3 truck’s steering. “In other trucks, you have to rotate the rear of it around so you can hit the bumps straight-on in the corners, or the wheel will get ripped out of your hands,” said Daniels. “Huge whooped out turns and square-edged holes are no problem in Gen 3. I’ve never driven a truck that steers like that. You drive deep into the corner and just turn the wheel with no kickback. The Gen 3 handles bitchin’. The comfort, speed, and handling are unlike anything else.” Another long time racer, Chuck Dempsey, agreed with Daniels’ assessment of the Gen 3 truck. He was quoted as saying, “It’s a very comfortable truck to drive, and it’s fast.” Dempsey added, “Many trucks just feel cumbersome, and the cab design does not flow; you just don’t feel comfortable in them. I drive a Brenthel Gen 2, and another brand truck in SCORE. The difference you feel in the Gen 3 is night and day. I hopped in for one lap with no adjustments, and the truck felt perfect. The motor is a beast. It feels more like a bike because when you get on the throttle it will get light and practically wheelie over an obstacle. When you combine the vision out the front with how responsive and powerful it is, it’s definitely something you can win with.” According to Brenthel, by incorporating 25 percent more steering angle into Gen 3 turning was improved from 26 degrees to 32 degrees, and now that 8 degrees of difference means a driver only needs three-quarters of a turn of the wheel to reach full lock. Computer Fluid Dynamics and More The driver’s compartment is more spacious and features Sparco racing seats. The dash and HDS GPS systems for driver and co-driver are laid out to reduce outside distractions and improve forward vision. Brenthel says that computer-generated fluid dynamics not only helped to shape the body of the Gen 3 truck in the early stages, it also played a role in reducing blind spots in the final product. Another area where Brenthel says is improved upon is in its fuel cell design. The latest generation uses a 100-gallon fuel cell as opposed to 75 gallons, giving the truck another 60-miles more of race time before refueling. The fuel cell location was also moved from the middle in the previous race car to the rear, to enhance handling and drivability. Another improvement area was in the chassis, which was TIG welded as opposed to MIG. According to Brenthel, both methods have their advantages but the company went with TIG welding for its aesthetics, strength, and safety. For SCORE racers and fans, it’ll be interesting to see the Brenthel Gen 3 in action and see how it stacks up against the competition. No doubt it’ll impress with its performance as well as good looks. SJ

Articles in this issue

Archives of this issue

view archives of SCORE Journal - score-journal-FEB-2020