Truck racing legend talks tech for the track

Ever wondered how fast your truck could go, Frank Amoroso did

Sitting in the driver’s seat, the adrenaline slowly starts setting in as you buckle up. 

Waiting, you turn the key to hear the hum and roar of the engine start mumbling underneath. And within seconds, as you begin finally settling into the cushion of the seat below you, it’s time to take off.

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That start up sequence stepped up to include truck racing in Australia in 1988 at a rain-soaked Calder Park raceway in Melbourne.

While the fledgling sport raised some eyebrows at the time, Frank Amoroso was enamoured. 

As a long-time transport fanatic and business owner, Frank had loved motorsport from an early age and it didn’t take long before curiosity and enthusiasm got the better of him, leading him to test his daily runner, a Kenworth K100 Aerodyne, on the track.

Frank Amoroso back in the day

“I started with the Aerodyne because I couldn’t afford a proper race truck,” he says.

With the rig needed for work and play, Frank had to come up with a temporary modification kit.

“I have been a very good customer of Re-Car over the years, I was good friends with Alan Browne that owned it, and Brian Ginger who managed it.”

“We took the truck down there and we modified it. We put a roll cage in the cabin without destroying it, so it looked quite good.

“We got all the skirts and everything on it.

“The Aerodyne was a 10-tonne truck, and we had about 900 horsepower coming out of it,” he says.

“But it handled it well.”

“I’d race it on the weekends and then convert it back Sunday night to get to work on Monday.

Frank’s custom Ford LTL9000

Frank says converting the truck from road to track was easier than most think.

“What we mostly had to do was handling, and all the type tyres so you can get off the line a bit quicker,” he says.

“Another big thing was motor wiring, switching it over from 300 horsepower on the road to 900 on the track.

Over the years, Frank has seen three of his trucks trading paint on the tracks.

In 1990, he attended an army auction where he picked up an old Diamond Reo.

“We converted it to single drive so it didn’t have dual diffs in it and modified the engine of course.”

“We raced that truck for two years.

“It would also get converted back over the weekend and go back to working around town pulling containers.

Today, Frank races an iconic 1986 Kenworth W900.

Trading paint on the track

The rig is one of the first race trucks that raced in Australia in 1987.

“It’s been refurbished Christ knows how many times, and we’ve modified coils.

“It’s actually a race car on steroids,” he chuckled.

“The only difference with racing a car is that if you were going to go to a race shop anywhere, you would be able to find your parts.

“Whereas with us, there is no place for that. You have to manufacture everything yourself.

“The rear of it is coils, watts leakage to stop the suspension from moving side to side, it’s a fair bit of mucking around.”

One of the members of the family, a Western Star

Frank says balance is a key component to a successful racing truck.

“You put your batteries on one side, and the steering box on the other. So with me sitting in the driver’s seat, it’s balanced at each corner like a race car.”

Frank doesn’t show any signs of passing the keys anytime soon.

The FATE Racing transporter ‘George’

“I’ve still got a few more years left in me, and I don’t plan on giving it up,” he says.

The team is currently preparing for the 2024 race season.

“We’ve got a bit more work to do on the truck over the break but we will have another real good crack at it next year,” he says.

Super Truck race dates: racingcalendar

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