Countdown to the 2017 season: tankpool24 Racing Team
12. February 2017As the start of the FIA European Truck Racing Championship draws ever nearer, preparations by the various teams accelerate to a frenetic pace. That’s the way it was with Mercedes-Benz team tankpool24 last year. There had been major changes at MB-Motorsport over the winter break, beginning with the hiring of one of the most experienced – and most successful – constructors in the sport in Stefan Honens, and followed anon by Markus Bauer’s surprise announcement that twice-champ Norbert Kiss would be joining the team. While this was doubtless a sensational catch, expectations both within and without shot sky-high – especially in the media and among the fans, and very likely the sponsors as well.
Two all-new trucks were readied in next to no time, and though the Mercedes only underwent their first shakedowns at the season-opener, the tankpool24 trucks were among the frontrunners from the word go. At the end of the season all expectations had been exceeded by a huge margin. That in turn has engendered even greater expectations for the coming season.
At the moment everything’s quite relaxed at the team’s base in Nürtingen, 35 km southeast of Stuttgart. While a number of chassis mods should result in significant handling improvements, the focus this year is clearly on engine development. The bulk of activity over the winter has been at the dynos – enhancing both high-end power and low-end torque. But it’s reliability that will probably be tankpool24’s topmost priority following its disastrous performance at Le Mans, when first André Kursim in first qualifying on Saturday, and then Norbert Kiss while comfortably in the lead the following day, suffered sudden, irreparable engine damage.