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JCB tractor sets speed record

JCB tractor sets speed record

The modified tractor hit a speed of 103.6 mph

By Diego Flammini
Staff Writer

A mechanic and motorcycle racer pushed a piece of modified ag equipment to break a land speed record.

Guy Martin, a British TV presenter with a need for speed, operated a modified JCB Fastrac farm tractor to reach a top speed of 103.6 mph (166.8 km/h) on June 21. The feat broke the previous British land speed record of 87 mph (140 km/h) set by The Stig, a character on the popular motoring TV show Top Gear.

Martin drove the tractor on a 1.8-mile (2.9-kilometre) runaway at the Elvington airfield near York.

The JCB tractor features a 7.2-liter, 6-cylinder diesel engine generating about 1,000 hp. Technicians from Williams Advanced Engineering, a Formula 1 racing team, replaced the tractor’s standard CVT transmission with a six-speed ZF gearbox.

Other changes to the tractor included improved valve seats and auxiliary piston cooling to manage the increased heat coming from the engine.

Seeing the speed readings top 100 mph is the culmination of hard work, said Lord Bambford, chairman of JCB.

“We’ve long harboured a dream to attempt a speed record with the Fastrac and the whole team has worked tirelessly to achieve this amazing result,” he said in a statement on June 21. “I’m extremely proud of what they have achieved in such a short space of time.”

The workmanship the engineers displayed in modifying the tractor was impressive, Martin said.

“It (was) a great day with the JCB at Elvington, proper job with some right proper engineers,” he said in a statement. The tractor “felt rock steady on the runway, job’s a peach.”

Guy Martin and the JCB Fastrac tractor.
JCB photo

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