ChampTruck racer brings European influence to American truck races

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Updated Aug 4, 2017
Szabo taking his rig for a test drive in Hungary earlier this month.Szabo taking his rig for a test drive in Hungary earlier this month.

In the upcoming Meritor ChampTruck World Series, joining the likes of diesel tech Mike Morgan, small fleet owner Allen Boles and the two Minimizer teams — who view the circuit through the lens of the American trucking industry — will be 22-year-old Krisztian Szabo, a racer by trade.

Szabo at the Bendix booth at the Mid-America Trucking Show in late March.Szabo at the Bendix booth at the Mid-America Trucking Show in late March.

The Hungarian native views the races a little differently — more as a way to kick start his professional driving career by getting some real-world experience under his belt and as a way to see the U.S.

Szabo just made his first trip the U.S. last week, attending the Mid-America Trucking Show with ChampTruck co-founder Fabien Calvet, who runs the European series ChampTruck is based on.

Szabo’s team is officially called the Truck Race Team USA — an offshoot of the Oxxo Team, a prominent team on the European truck racing circuit and its reigning champion.

Oxxo is a European energy drink brand, and Szabo’s truck will be painted with a blue-and-white paint scheme reflecting both it and his sponsor, Bendix.

Szabo cut his racing teeth on an ATV circuit in Europe, and getting behind the wheel of a Class 8 racer in the U.S. is the next step in his career, he says.

He’ll be driving a Volvo VNL that formerly toured Europe as a show truck, and he took for a spin for the first time this month in Hungary.

“I’m always open to anything new,” Szabo says. “I’ve never tried truck racing before, so this will be really a new challenge for me.”

The dream for him right now, he says, would be for him to pick up the ChampTruck championship and his Team Oxxo European counterpart to win the European series.

Here are a few pictures of Szabo’s truck in development and a rendering of what the truck should look like:

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Szabo at MATSSzabo at MATS
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