2,000-hp Banks Super-Turbo Freightliner hauls out to Pikes Peak

Justin Hyde

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Stunt and race driver Mike Ryan has made his name racing a Freightliner Cascadia semi truck in most tire-shredding, physics-taunting forms possible — from the Internet-famous drifting demonstration to running the Pikes Peak International Hill Climb. After a successful trip up the mountain last year, Ryan turned to diesel tuner Gale Banks for some power upgrades. This year's truck, the Banks Super-Turbo Freightliner, has so much power that it's not clear there's a device strong enough to measure it. The conservative estimate? At least 2,000 hp.

Although Ryan has won the Big Rig class at Pikes Peak 13 of the past 14 tries, Ryan told Autoweek he wanted to go faster than ever this year up the 12.4-mile course, one that's dangerous in a small car and potentially deadly. While the 10,000-lb. Freightliner had already been turbocharged, Banks added a complicated set of induction, exhaust and cooling features along with a custom supercharger. All of it will work in concert to automatically change the boost pressure as the altitude rises and the air outside the Freightliner thins, maximizing the power from the six-cylinder Detroit Diesel unit.

Ryan and Banks took the Super Turbo out for a ride around a California track last week, the first time the new engine has been put to a rolling test. The truck is already en route to Pikes Peak for Ryan's run this weekend, although with the amount of torque this beast generates, Ryan could have pulled the mountain to him.

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