Over the years, we have collected many many features of all different sorts of builds. There have been diesel-swapped cars, super-fast trucks, ridiculously powerful sled pullers, but this one may just take the cake. Hailing from Hoeven, Netherlands, The Matrix Pulling Team has been hard at work for over three years to develop one of the most unique pulling tractors in the world.
After already being involved with sled pulling and having other tractors in previous years, Team Matrix felt that they needed a new challenge and wanted to build the tractor from scratch and they wanted to fit into the fastly growing Light Modified class. Now, as you can see, something is obviously up here, right? What is better than a 5.9-Liter 12-Valve Cummins engine? Two of them.
The Matrix sports twin Cummins 12-Valve 5.9 engines and supposedly is making in the neighborhood of 5,000-horsepower between the two. Two engines, twelve cylinders, and a whole lot of boost. The power of methanol! Wait, what? These engines actually do not run on diesel fuel but on methanol. This means they don’t have the normal P7100 injection pumps or the factory Cummins fuel injectors.
Instead, there is a methanol fuel pump, intake nozzles regulated by intake pressure, and an MSD 8+ ignition system. On each cylinder head where the fuel injectors used to go, that is now home of six spark plugs. The Matrix Pulling Team has removed the old intake side on the head to make way for their custom intake manifold with fuel nozzles. This intake manifold was designed to improve air-flow. As for the exhaust, each engine sports a custom manifold to fit a Holset HX82 turbocharger.
Inside each engine is the standard crankshaft the 12-valve Cummins engines come with but they have been modified to fit their custom-fit MPP aluminum flywheels. The camshafts are both custom-grind units from Colt Cams, the rocker arms were supplied by Chaos Fabrication and can withstand near 5,000-RPMs.
As for the valves, they are original units. Team Matrix explained that they are expected to break soon but due to budget restrictions, upgrades aren’t available yet. The Hamilton Cams valve springs are rated for 5,000-RPM+ and they’ve got their work cut out for them with an expected 6,500-RPM range coming.
The pistons and rods are also a special blend. The connecting rods are a much stronger and lighter piece than normal from CP Carillo and the pistons are a homemade project. Team Matrix developed their own pistons based on their engine philosophy and design knowing about these engines and fuel type.
After removing the standard oiling system, Team Matrix then supplied this tractor with an Aviad Dry Sump system. This system has three different sections. One is for the turbocharger with a separate tank, which prevents methanol seeping into the oil of the center section of the turbo), and then two for the engine itself. All of the oil lines have been converted over to the cleaner AN fittings thanks to one of their sponsors, QSP.
Once again, QSP supplied all of the materials to plumb the fuel system for The Matrix. All of these clean AN lines get the fuel to and from a Van Der Waal Pullingparts fuel pump which is designed to work with methanol. Like the oil pumps, the fuel pump is driven by the crankshaft.
Also, since they don’t use any type of computer regulated injection, fuel pressure is adjusted by the pressure inside the intake. If we increase the intake pressure, it will engage one of three stages of the fuel system. Stage 1 is always active which is what the engines will idle on. Stage two and three will open up once the targeted pressure is reached during the run.
During a pass, which lasts anywhere from 10-15-seconds, The Matrix will burn 25-30 liters of fuel. That is about 6-8 gallons for us in the states. That doesn’t sound like very good miles per gallon but honestly, I think we’re only looking at smiles per gallon.
Both engines utilize an MSD 8+ ignition system with MSD cables. Where the “p-pump” used to go on these 12-valves is now home to a distributor cap for the cables. Mounted on the front of these engines are ignition points where the ignition and timing are controlled by a trigger sensor.
Data Logging System
Competing at this level, the stakes are high and the competition is good. Data is everything. If you’re wanting to win, you need to be able to take the data you have and make the necessary adjustments to win. Team Matrix relies on a Racepak Data Logger to monitor the oil, cylinder, and turbo temperatures. Other critical points that are watched are oil pressure and the tractor’s wheel speed.
Live from inside the cockpit, this data is being recorded and displayed live for the driver to see as well as sent trackside to the team via the datalink. They explained how important it was to be able to analyze this data after each run.
Chassis / Drivetrain
This whole package rides on a custom MPP Domex 700 chassis with a billet aluminum center section and Rockwell differentials. The Matrix team relies on a 4 x 11-inch Crower Clutch discs inside a Browell 11-inch bell housing. Each engine has its own clutch which are controlled simultaneously. After that, the power is run through an SCS Reverser with the options of forward, neutral, and reverse.
Another unique thing about this tractor is the cross box it uses for the driveline. A cross box connects two engines together and has them working in unison with only one driveshaft connected to the tank-size differential. The cross box grate was manufactured by JGGH Engineering from The Netherlands.
Team Matrix is a really family-oriented team and outside of their normal work, they put at least 18-hours into this truck a week. Altogether, they’re a small team but they make it work. They got their start back in 2008 in the compact diesel class and it has since developed quite a bit. The smaller class they were in had them running a 100-horsepower Citroen engine with a diesel turbo.
In terms of investment, engine size, horsepower, and involvement, Team Matrix has come a long way. Due to their success in the smaller, compact class, these guys wanted to take things to the next level. With their expertise within the Cummins platform and advice from Kevin Campbell of Chaos Fabrication here in the states, their mind was made up that it would be the engine of choice.
Currently, Team Matrix is expecting to be in the area of 5,000-horsepower. Their design mixed with a full recipe of proven insurance parts, this will be one powerful beast. But, future plans call for more power. They mentioned that more power is always the leading goal but right now, this will work as they dial in the setup precisely.
I can understand why they want more power. They are only making 5,000-horsepower. That just isn’t. Can you tell I’m smiling? Unfortunately, with their limited budget and sponsor struggles in Europe, The Matrix is going to be limited where it is. Their biggest concern until that point is lightening the chassis up as much as possible. After all, when things are lighter, they last longer.
The Matrix Pulling Team also threw out a huge shoutout to everyone that has supported them including all of their great sponsors. Luijkx Machinebouw, Luijkx Service & Techniek, Luijkx Graphics, QSP Products, Van Der Waal Pullingparts, Proton Reclame, Cobla Coating Systems BV, Harpie B.V., Van Tilburg-Bastianen BV, and the Club van 100 (Matrix fanclub).
We are fortunate that this was set up and we got to work with the whole crew over at Matrix Pulling. These guys took a hobby and have modified it into something extremely cool and unique. They have certainly raised the bar on what I like to call it “The Cool Factor”. For more action from these guys, be sure and check out their Facebook page.