JCB’s Fastrac has raced into the record books after being crowned the world’s fastest tractor with a speed of 217.5688 kilometres/hour (135.191 miles/hour).
The modified Fastrac – designed and built by a team of young engineers at Staffordshire in the United Kingdom – secured the title at Elvington Airfield in York with motorbike racer and lorry mechanic Guy Martin at the wheel.
The feat was officially ratified by Guinness World Records who presented the company with a special framed certificate minutes after the achievement.
The achievement comes after JCB set its first Guinness World Record for the fastest tractor at Elvington in June.
Called Fastrac One, it reached a speed of 166.728 km/hr (103.6 mph) with Mr Martin in the driver’s seat.
JCB then embarked on an ambitious plan to break its own record and developed Fastrac Two – which was 10 per cent lighter and was even more streamlined than its smaller brother.
Fastrac Two hit a peak speed of 247.47 km/hr (153.771 mph) on its way to setting the recording-breaking average of 217.5688 (135.191 mph) at Elvington.
Both tractors are based on a standard, commercially available JCB Fastrac, which is sold around the world.
“This has been a massive undertaking, and I was a very small cog in the machine. It was a proper privilege to be involved, so thank you very much to JCB and its engineering team, who got this tractor absolutely spot-on. Just look at it, they get stuff done, it’s brilliant, and it is still a working tractor, so could have gone straight into the nearest field to put in a shift,” Mr Martin said.
A team of JCB engineers has been working on the project to further develop the tractor over the last few months which JCB chairman Lord Bamford praised as an “amazing achievement”.
“When we reached 103.6 mph with the Fastrac in the summer, I was convinced we could go even faster, and the JCB team has risen to the challenge by setting this new record,” he said.
“It’s an amazing achievement delivered by a young and enthusiastic engineering team. Everyone involved should be very proud of the part they have played in showing off British engineering at its very best.”
The record-breaking attempt was overseen by Guinness World Records, who confirmed that the JCB Fastrac completed two runs, in either direction through a speed trap set one kilometre apart, within the allotted time, to set the record.
Getting Fastrac Two on to the Elvington aerodrome in just a matter of months has been a tall order, but one that project manager Alex Skittery and his team of young engineers have grabbed with both hands.
JCB chief innovation and growth officer Tim Burnhope said Fastrac One had proved there were no limits to what a young and dynamic engineering team could achieve.
“So we pushed boundaries and ideas, and looked at all aspects of the project to find solutions and make improvements,” he said.
“The biggest challenges have included aerodynamics, reducing weight and improving performance – getting a five-tonne tractor to safely reach 150mph, and stop again, is not an easy task, but we’re all so proud to have not only reached these goals, but to have exceeded them.”
To secure the World’s fastest tractor record, JCB’s engineering team returned to the drawing board to produce the vastly-improved Fastrac Two. 0
Powered by JCB’s 7.2 litre, 6-cylinder Dieselmax engine produced at JCB Power Systems factory in Derbyshire, peak power was measured at 1016 horsepower backed up by over 2,500Nm of torque.
Despite the tractor developing 1016hp, it achieved over 5 miles per gallon and needed only a tiny 20-litre fuel tank to make its high-speed runs.
And while it has the capability to run on vegetable oil, a special formulation of high-performance racing diesel was used.
Aiming for a target speed of 241 km/hr (150 mph) required Fastrac Two to shed even more weight.
It is 10pc lighter than Fastrac One, while benefitting from greater strength and additional streamlining.
With the help of key industry partners, the JCB engineering team delivered a tractor capable of setting a new world record for the fastest tractor (modified).
It was Lord Bamford’s idea to develop a tractor which had a high road speed capable of field work.
The world speed record now achieved came 28 years since the first production model rolled off the line.
JCB is no stranger to land speed records. In 2006, its Dieselmax streamliner set a new diesel land speed record when it reached 563.4184 km/hr (350.092 mph) on Bonneville Salt Flats in the United States using two JCB Dieselmax engines. It’s a record that still stands to this day.