Baja 500: The next bonebreaker awaits the AGM-Jimco X6 SCORE Trophy Truck

Armin Schwarz and All German Motorsports are ready for round three of the 2012 US Score Championship on the washboard tracks through Baja California.

Ensenada (MEX), 24th May 2012. Shaken, but not stirred. For the new AGM-Jimco X6 SCORE Trophy Truck driven by Armin Schwarz and fielded by All German Motorsports, the next test of endurance is approaching the coming week (1st to 3th June). The Baja 500, the third round of the 2012 US SCORE Championship, again brings man and machine to their limit. And it marks the last race in the lead up to the Baja 1000 in November. It is the last chance to prepare for the season highlight in the Mexican desert under race conditions.

Armin Schwarz and AGM have already contested two rounds with their new desert monster, the Laughlin Desert Challenge in the US state of Nevada and the Baja 250, which like the Baja 500, is run around the city of Ensenada on Mexico’s Baja California. These races revealed that the AGM Jimco X6 SCORE Trophy Truck goes like a bat out of hell, but especially on twisty terrain its light weight racer was able to pull clear of the competition. But the brand new vehicle still had one or two teething troubles to sort out. At the Laughlin Desert Challenge for instance it was the drive shaft that caused headaches, at the Baja 250 it was the main input shaft.

In the weeks following the Baja 250, AGM worked intensively on ironing out these teething problems. With its partners Liqui Moly and Schaeffler, detailed analyses were conducted to see what stresses the shafts have to withstand and which oil should be used. Partner Fortin then built the new components into the Trophy Truck. “The difficult thing about this was that we didn’t have the same damage twice, but it was about different things,” Armin Schwarz explains. “So it didn’t happen overnight that we could collate all the data, identify the cause and make all the changes. And the shafts were basically designed to last. So it doesn’t help to simply make them stronger – that doesn’t guarantee that the problem is fixed.”

But Armin Schwarz and the crew have every reason to be optimistic. Team boss Martin Christensen has put the AGM-Jimco X6 SCORE Trophy Truck through stringent tests in the Mexican desert. “He went flat out, not cautiously but at race speed,” reports Armin Schwarz. “Afterwards we took everything apart and had a close look. We didn’t see any wear at all, everything looked fine. The Baja 500 is the moment of truth – we won’t be reducing or slowing our speed. We’ll be driving as fast as we can. And then we’ll see whether the thing holds out over 500 miles or not.” At this test, Christensen also readjusted the suspension and fine-tuned the torque converter to ensure smoother gear steps.

With these measures, the Trophy Truck should be well prepared for the challenges of the Baja 500. “The race is a great combination of the Baja 250 and the Baja 1000,” explains Armin Schwarz. “It’s predominantly made up of hilly, twisty and rally-like routes. A third to 50 percent is on really rough and hard surfaces, like we experienced at the Baja 250. And the Baja 250 is actually the worst that can happen to your suspension. The majority of the course runs over real washboards where the suspension is pushed to the max. Still, in his first press release, Sal Fish has promised a brutally tough Baja 500 route. And when Sal says something, he means what he says…”

Armin Schwarz and his colleagues would be pleased to bring a top result home from the desert. But the top priority is the Baja 1000 in November: “The Baja 500 serves as a preparation and for us to establish where we’re at when it comes to performance, how fast we are, what we still have to work on and what are we capable of.” With another comprehensive test in September, the preparations for the season highlight shift into top gear.