Doing 96.8 mph in a modern pickup truck isn't that hard. Try doing it in a truck that weighs 10,500 pounds and has agricultural equipment-grade tires the size of a grown man. But Raminator, the Ram monster truck run by Hall Bros. Racing, just annihilated that record at Circuit of the Americas in Austin.
The Raminator — one of the most prominent names in monster truck racing, special events, car crushing and other insane acts of trucktacular mayhem — is now Guinness World Records-certified as the fastest monster truck in the world, breaking a record set in 2012.
If anyone could pull off this stunt, it's the Hall brothers and their team. They've been at monster truck racing since the mid-1980s, and today Crew Chief Tim Hall is the five-time Monster Truck Racing Association Mechanic of the Year while his brother Mark Hall is a nine-time Driver of the Year. They're pros in every sense of the word.
On a cool and sunny morning at Circuit of the Americas, the actual record-breaking didn't take too long. With Mark Hall behind the wheel, the Raminator started out near the final Turn 20 and rocketed forward on the main straight in front of the grandstands. On its first run, the truck cleared 97 mph.
Two more runs followed, with the Raminator clinching a final 99.1 mph record time. It was just shy of breaking the 100 mph barrier the Hall brothers and their team were hoping for, but it was an impressive showing that they were quite happy with.
"Somebody's gonna do it, so it might as well be us," Tim Hall told me at the track. That's as good a reason as any, right?
Going that fast in the Raminator is not easy for many, many reasons. The truck itself is 10 feet tall. It weighs 10,500 pounds. Its tires, sourced from fertilizer spreader machines, weigh 900 pounds each. Simply put, it is not designed for high speeds — at events like their off-road races and Monster Jam, the Raminator never comes close to this kind of velocity.
What the Raminator has on its side is power. Obscene power. Ridiculous power, the kind that makes your Challenger Hellcat look like a Toyota Yaris. The truck packs a 565 cubic inch (9.25 liter) supercharged alcohol-powered drag-racing Hemi motor that puts out a whopping 2,000 horsepower. That hulking motor is mounted in the center of the truck.
Yeah, that's a lot of power. It's also so loud it makes your brain feel like it's bleeding. It's not even a nice sound. That Hemi belches out a low-pitched wail that will leave your ears ringing after it makes a pass. It's as loud as any race car I have heard at Circuit of the Americas.
"We never get to go that fast," driver Mark Hall said with a grin you might expect from a man who just drove the fastest monster truck in the world. "I felt like I was one of the F1 guys."
Mark Hall said that the biggest challenge of a high-speed run in the Raminator is the tires. They just aren't designed for this kind of thing, so they get pretty shaky starting out. While they even out at higher speeds, they shake again during braking.
"Our tires kind of wobble a bit," he said. "It's pretty wild."
Now that that they've established themselves as the Guinness-certified fastest monster truck in the world, the goal is break that triple-digit barrier.
"I want to be the first guy to go over 100," Mark Hall said. They're so close, I'd count on them pulling it off.
Personally, I'd love to see what kind of lap time they would post at COTA as well. Maybe I can talk them into that next time.
Photos credit Patrick George/Jalopnik
Video credit David Doolittle/Circuit of the Americas