This project overview was started in early 2006 and has been written about here in real time. It starts off talking about the concept, the design, the building, and goes on to the subsequent record-breaking, record-making performance that this remarkable Banks products test bed disguised as a race car competition has achieved
From March 9, 2009
Azusa, Calif. - - The Banks Sidewinder S-10 Duramax pickup just gets faster every time it
runs! And on Saturday March 7, the dark red truck with a brand new Sidewinder snake supergraphic on the side charged right past its own
record once again with an incredible 7.77 -180 mile per hour run which made it the first ever diesel pickup to that speed in
Read all About the Sidewinder S-10's New Record
From March 28, 2006
Gale Banks has several goals he wants to achieve with his latest Duramax turbodiesel project truck, the Sidewinder D-Max S-10. Most obviously there's speed: Gale Banks Engineering has a long history of winning races and setting records on land and in the water, and the expectations for the S-10 are no different. Banks wants to see the full-tube-chassis drag race truck become the first diesel truck to run the quarter-mile in the 7-second range. Although diesel-powered dragsters are already that quick, reaching into the 7s in a lightweight, dedicated drag car with the aerodynamic signature of a dart is much easier than clocking that time in a vehicle that still bears the upright and blocky silhouette of Chevy's compact street truck.
Banks wants his drag-race truck not just fast, but clean, too. The S-10's Duramax 6.6L LBZ V-8, with its unique twin-turbocharger system and highly modified Bosch common-rail fuel-injection, will produce in excess of 1,000 horsepower - far more than even the land-speed-record holding, Cummins-turbodiesel-powered Banks Sidewinder Dakota.
In the current state of diesel drag race technology, high-powered engines typically produce huge amounts of black smoke pouring out of the exhaust pipes as the trucks power up in the staging lanes. Banks, however, sees the future of diesel drag racing differently. He's currently working with the NHRA to change its rulebook to allow diesel trucks to use nitrous oxide in conjunction with turbochargers. The "throttle in a bottle" power adder has a side benefit in diesels: It clears the smoke during starting-line power-ups, eliminating the choking exhaust clouds that would otherwise turn off many of the NHRA's loyal drag race fans. The late Wally Parks, the NHRA's founder, had personally assisted Banks in his quest; and currently, three national classes and six Western Division classes have agreed to the rules change. Read Gale Banks' letter to the NHRA.
There's another, longer-term reason for building and campaigning the D-Max S-10. For years, Banks has advocated the use of diesel as a powerful, yet efficient alternative to gasoline, and not just in the trucks and motorhomes that have been Banks' specialty since the 1980s. Banks wants to see diesel spread to the mass automotive market, both as a choice for those seeking its frugal efficiency, as well as for those willing to pay for a premium, powerful vehicle. He's even trademarked the slogan, "Guilt-Free Performance," to describe the powerful-yet-economical benefits of using diesel in a light-duty automotive application.
To Banks, there's no better way to promote the viability of diesel performance than to showcase his technology in front of the NHRA's rabid fan base via the D-Max S-10. Drag-race fans are gearheads who understand diesel's inherent power and efficiency characteristics. They also tend to be the automotive opinion leaders in their communities - the "car guy" down the street who's often asked, "What kind of car should I buy?" Win these opinion leaders over, and they'll drive market demand for light-duty diesel through their own purchases and recommendations to others. When that happens, Banks will have made significant progress in his long-time quest for diesel's acceptance as a viable alternative fuel.