Imagine hitting 100 mph in this!
There are all kinds of vehicles that can break a speed record: hot hatches, performance sedans, supercars, even purpose-built streamliners. But that's the thing about speed records: while there are outright records to be broken, most are categorical – as in, by type of vehicle. And the latest record was set for tractors.
That's right: as in, farming equipment. That kind of tractor. British heavy-equipment manufacturer JCB just broke the national speed record for tractors with a specially prepared version of its aptly named Fastrac. And not by a narrow margin, either.
The Fastrac was developed by JCB to be capable of performing the usual farm work, but also to be able to drive down public roads without holding up traffic (too much). The top-spec JCB Fastrac 8000 series is able to hit a top speed of just over 43 mph – which may not seem very fast for most vehicles, but if you've ever driven a tractor (as your fair writer has), you'll know that's positively blinding for this type.
The record-setting beast, however, managed much better than that. The tractor was stripped down, and its 7.2-liter diesel six tuned to deliver 1,000 horsepower and 1,844 lb-ft of torque.
Those are Bugatti levels of output, and the effort paid off. At the Elvington Airfield (near York) and with TV presenter Guy Martin behind the wheel, the tuned JCB hit a top speed of 103.6 mph. That's over 16 mph faster than the previous record, set by Top Gear's Track-Tor a little over a year ago.
It's the same type of tractor that JCB used to assist the DieselMax streamliner (pictured below), which set the land-speed record for diesel propulsion in 2006 at over 350 mph. This latest effort is set to be documented in a television special to air later this year.