Four Wheel Drive, Done Differently
Two unlikely machines, matched up in the dirt
Houston. Monster Jam® driver Linsey Read – who has been at the wheel of monster trucks for a decade as part of the Monster Jam series – invited experienced, and apparently fearless, Porsche racer Leh Keen to take her on at the NRG Stadium in Texas, a seventy-two thousand person capacity stadium in a vehicle of his choosing. What transpired was a unique comparison test between seemingly polar opposite machines.
On the surface, a Porsche Taycan Turbo S Cross Turismo and a Monster Jam truck seem not to have a great deal in common. One is equipped powerful dual electric motors, up to five seats, 20-inch wheels, advanced adjustable air-sprung suspension to bridge the gap between comfort and agile handling in an instant and in complete silence, possesses the ability to cross states in comfort and was created in Stuttgart. The other features a fire-breathing, supercharged, methanol-fueled V8, massive 66-inch wheels, just one seat and a swappable fiberglass body on top of a robust and extremely tough tubular steel chassis and dual-tube nitrogen-charged hydraulic dampers that do an admirable job of absorbing the impacts upon landing a 60 foot jump, which, according to Linsey, occurs more often than you might expect.
And yet the two are remarkably similar, at least when the road turns to dirt. Both send power to all four wheels and feature four-wheel steering, both deliver similar performance off the line and possess similar power to weight ratios. Crucially both, for the purposes of this test, have drivers behind the wheel who are experts in their respective fields.
What followed was predictably chaotic fun. “I have to be honest, most of the time I couldn’t see Leh,” said a clearly elated Linsey Read. “He had to weave around me, so I had to trust he was staying well away. But from the reactions I’d say he did amazingly well to stay close to me – that Taycan can really shift! Driving a Monster Jam truck is a complete adrenaline rush – and it can really fly, which I was thankful for when I flew over Leh.”
“It was like I was racing against a building,” said Leh Keen on emerging from the Taycan. “The size of the Monster Jam truck is staggering – it looks like it’s hardly trying, but I glanced down and we’re approaching three figure speeds, inside a stadium, on dirt. It’s so agile, given its size, but for obvious reasons I kept well clear! The Taycan was just awesome – it gave me a lot of feedback, found grip when I most needed it and let me also have fun out there. I’m grateful to Linsey for inviting me – now for the re-match I’ve just got to find a race track big enough for her and her truck …”