12 rounds, 70,000km: Behind Team 18's new rig

  • Repco Supercars Championship
  • |
  • 22/02/2021
  • By James Pavey

Drivers on the 2021 Repco Supercars Championship grid will cover over 4000 kilometres of racing this season.

However, it pales in significance to the mileage teams' trucks will cover they steer cars and equipment to race meetings nationwide.

That will be the case for Team 18, with Charlie Schwerkolt's squad taking the reins of a new Kenworth T909 prime mover ahead of the 2021 season.

The identity of a team is showcased on the road, with sponsors taking prime position on the heavy haulers as they bounce from base to event, and back to base.

Team 18's truck driver Mark Nelson is set to cover over 70,000km this year, with the Melbourne-based team's new T909 to pull a B-double trailer with over 50 tonnes of equipment.

From Mount Panorama this weekend, through the red centre to Darwin, and across the iconic Nullarbor Plain to Perth, Nelson will be one of many truck drivers assigned to safely transport teams' cars and equipment across the country.

The T909 is flagship model of the Kenworth range, powered by a 15 Litre Cummins X15 engine with an Eaton manual transmission.

Team 18's new rig features stainless tank trims, extra roof lights, a custom bull bar and a host of personalised accessories for the squad.

For Schwerkolt, the new delivery marks another step forward for his team as it aims to become a winning outfit in 2021.

"It was an extremely special day on Saturday getting the delivery of our brand-new Kenworth T909 in time to head to Bathurst," Schwerkolt said.

"It's the biggest truck you can get, the toughest-looking truck, it's got heritage, style and class and it will be the envy of every team in the pit lane.

"In a race team image is everything. We take the presentation of our team very seriously as it reflects back on our drivers, our crew, our fans and our wider sponsor group.

"We transport the cars all over Australia through some of the harshest conditions in the world, so it's critical to have a reliable truck that can haul the load well and deliver our equipment to the next event on time, every time."

Last year, Kenworth inked a three-year extension with Supercars, extending the partnership into a 24th year by the end of 2023.

In 2020, Kenworth celebrated its 20-year anniversary as the official heavy vehicle supplier for Supercars.

Kenworth also boasts a long personal history with Schwerkolt, who has over 20 Kenworths running in his Waverley Forklifts transport fleet.

"We have over a million dollars' worth of cars, plus another half a million dollars of spares and equipment to keep the team on track," Schwerkolt added.

"Whether we're going between Darwin and Townsville or across the Nullarbor Plain to Perth, reliability, performance and comfort is everything.

"I've had a long and successful association with Kenworth for many years as a sponsor of Team 18 and as a provider of trucks for my Waverley Forklifts group.

"I was so proud to have the opportunity drive it off the production line at Kenworth’s manufacturing plant in Bayswater and take it to their dealership at the Hallam Truck Centre for the final touches.

"Recently we've seen more teams bring Kenworths to the track and we've always had one, but now we have the best."

Brad May, Director of Sales and Marketing, Kenworth/PACCAR Australia added: "Kenworth is proud of our association with Team 18. The professionalism and quality of the presentation of the team led by Charlie is something that we believe fits the values of our business extremely well.

"The cars look great in their 2021 livery and so it is only appropriate that they be transported by what is widely recognised as the ultimate drivers truck, the T909.

"Together with the Team 18 trailer set, the combination will surely be a standout in the paddock this year."

Team 18's new truck will join the fleet at this weekend's Repco Mt Panorama 500.

Cars will hit the track on Friday for opening practice of the Repco Mt Panorama 500. Tickets are on sale now.

This weekend’s event will be broadcast live on Foxtel and the Seven Network, and will be streamed on Kayo. Check out the full TV schedule here.

Stay In The Know
Sign up to the Repco Supercars Championship Newsletter