Technology

CHARGE OF THE PRO LITE BRIGADE

MONSTER Energy athlete Luke Woodham was present at The Stages motorsport event, held as part of the Dubshed car show.

Instead of competing in his V8 powered Nissan Silvia S14 Drift Car.

TRUCK STOP: Luke Woodham is ready to shred his 450hp Pro Lite Race Truck

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TRUCK STOP: Luke Woodham is ready to shred his 450hp Pro Lite Race TruckCredit: GRAHAM CURRY

Luke decided to bring his American Pro Lite race truck to the event and burn some rubber in this beast instead.

It’s an incredible machine, powered by a Ford Winchester V8 engine that produces around 450 horsepower and tons of torque.

The Pro Lite truck was built by Casey Curry, another Monster driver and native of California, and then acquired by Luke who brought it back to the UK.

Casey built the truck himself, it should look like a Jeep Wrangler with the typical grill and the round headlights.

But that’s basically where the similarities end.

It features a chromoly steel chassis, Fox Racing suspension with 12 inches of travel up front and 14 inches in the rear with a multi-link setup and 265-75 R16 mud tires.

MONSTER JAM: The Monster Energy run event was a real blast, especially watching Luke in his Pro Lite truck

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MONSTER JAM: The Monster Energy run event was a real blast, especially watching Luke in his Pro Lite truckCredit: GRAHAM CURRY

Luke is a four-time Gymkhana GRiD winner and has been a multiple podium finisher in the British Drift Championship.

But his drift car has a manual transmission and is specially built for power sliding on asphalt.

The only thing his drift car and truck have in common is that they’re both V8-powered and rear-wheel drive, but that’s about it.

The Pro Lite truck has a semi-automatic transmission but no clutch, and it was built to be driven on dirt and hitting jumps with its long-travel suspension.

So it has nothing to do with being used as a drift car and being pushed over a tight Gymkhana-style course.

ON THE BALL: Luke sends the swinging ball skyward by slamming the back of his truck into it

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ON THE BALL: Luke sends the swinging ball skyward by slamming the back of his truck into itCredit: DARREN LIGGETT

There’s a handbrake, but Luke doesn’t use it, instead it’s all about shifting your weight and using all that power to spin the wheels and push the rear end around corners.

It brakes hard when entering a corner or obstacle, shifting the weight to the front of the truck and reducing the load on the rear.

Then he’ll downshift and floor the accelerator for maximum power to spin the rear wheels.

MID-MOUNTED: The Pro Lite truck's engine sits far back in the cab

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MID-MOUNTED: The Pro Lite truck’s engine sits far back in the cabCredit: DARREN LIGGETT
REARVIEW MIRROR: The Pro Lite truck's view through the rear window

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REARVIEW MIRROR: The Pro Lite truck’s view through the rear windowCredit: DARREN LIGGETT

The V8 sits so far back that it actually invades the cabin, so it could be classified as a mid-engine.

The driver and passenger are pushed to the outside of the truck, and between them sits the air filter for that massive V8.

This Pro Lite truck is the only two seater version in Europe so I was very fortunate to drive a shotgun alongside Luke which led me to a hot lap of the Stages course.

And it really was a very hot lap, not only because of the burning rubber and tire smoke, but with your legs right next to the engine, it gets very hot from the bucket seat quickly.

READY TO ROCK: Irish Sun Motoring Editor in Luke Woodham's truck, ready for his passenger ride

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READY TO ROCK: Irish Sun Motoring Editor in Luke Woodham’s truck, ready for his passenger rideCredit: BEN LIGGETT

And that’s a good thing, too, because there are no side windows, not even a front one, so it’s very noisy too.

But who doesn’t love the sound of a V8 screaming alongside you as you ride in the belly of a Monster Energy beast.

I’ve been in rally cars, gymkhana cars, race cars, fast street cars, but this was passenger racing on a whole new level.

POWERSLIDE: Even though the truck is built for dirt, Luke can still make it slide on asphalt

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POWERSLIDE: Even though the truck is built for dirt, Luke can still make it slide on asphaltCredit: GRAHAM CURRY

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Credit: GRAHAM CURRY

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Credit: GRAHAM CURRY

As soon as Luke hits the brakes, the truck lurches forward with screeching tires, and it’s not exactly a small or nimble machine.

But he makes it look easy by tossing it deftly, and me around, so much so that one of the videos I took from the passenger seat was useless as the camera spent more time capturing the roof and floor as the route.

It’s a testament to how talented Luke is. I was tired just watching him ride it, but it was the best roller coaster ride I’ve ever experienced.

SMOKE SHOW: A set of all-terrain tires doesn't last long with Luke at the wheel

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SMOKE SHOW: A set of all-terrain tires doesn’t last long with Luke at the wheelCredit: DARREN LIGGETT

FINISH LINE: A hot one. action-packed high-octane round later

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FINISH LINE: A hot one. action-packed high-octane round laterCredit: GRAHMA CURRY

https://www.thesun.ie/sport/8646361/luke-woodham-brings-his-450bhp-usa-race-truck-to-out-to-play/ CHARGE OF THE PRO LITE BRIGADE

Fry Electronics Team

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