Middleton takes ‘podium honours’

in Drivers’ Fuel Efficiency Challenge by Volvo Trucks

Volvo Trucks is not only a partner of Whiteline Transport Racing, but a dominant global brand who has held a strong focus on fuel efficiency and protection of the environment over the decades. Looking toward constant improvements to optimise engines, trucks and services in order to help save fuel, Volvo recently extended their international Drivers’ Fuel Challenge to Australia’s shores, with hundreds of truckies taking up the challenge, including known transport industry and motor sport personality, the Touring Car Masters’ own, Bob Middleton who took out third place.

Given that the most important factor in saving fuel is the driver, Middleton and his staff at Whiteline Transport in South Australia are share Volvo’s commitment to ensuring drivers are trained in fuel-efficient driving techniques, meaning they can use 5-10% less fuel, with the added benefits of reductions in CO2 emissions and costs. With this in mind, and his vast experience with truck handling and performance from three Australian Supertruck Racing Championships, Middleton entered the inaugural Australian leg of the fuel challenge where it’s all about driving efficiently on a specified route with interesting tests along the way.

From the hundreds of entries, and thousands of kilometres of fully loaded semis watching their fuel gauges, it all came down to eight national finalists who headed for Anglesea, Victoria last week to take the final tests. Conducted on a closed road course at the Australian Automotive Research Centre, the challenge had the state finalists attempting to burn the least amount of fuel in a fully laden semi-trailer, while maintaining realistic trip times, and when it came to the final numbers, Middleton was less than one percent from the title.

Gary Bone, Vice President of Volvo Trucks Australia explained, “there was only an 8.7 per cent difference between all of the drivers. The margin between first and second place was a mere 0.27 of a litre and 1.2kph. The difference was made in driver technique and better use of the engine brake.”

While the win went to Chris Sanders of South Australia, and Michael Sharp of Queensland took out second by the slightest of margins, Bob Middleton was thrilled with his third finish explaining,

“The challenge has been a lot of fun and a great way to meet so many more people in the industry. We all share the trucking background, but I was quietly hoping that my racing experience might come through to get me across the line.

“I was told that during some of the final tests, I was on a clear racing line with the rig on an angle, so in a sense I was at ease and it was just like throwing the race car around the circuits.

“We’re very proud of what Whiteline Transport has become over the years, with our staff, services and fleet all at a premium level, and it’s the same philosophy with our racing with both of our Camaro’s fully prepped and ready for their next challenge in Queensland.”

The Whiteline Transport Racing Camaros will be on track for Round 4 of the Touring Car Masters at Queensland Raceway from August 3 to 5.

The Touring Car Masters is proudly supported by Shannons Insurance, Rare Spares, Unique Cars Magazine and the 2012 Australian Muscle Car Masters, with official suppliers Hoosier Tires and Australian Sports Marketing.


Images courtesy of Volvo Trucks Australia

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