Tractor uses F1 tech to trump $1m supercars

HOT on the grass clippings of the world's fastest lawnmower comes a tractor that promises to plough the fields in record time.

The tractor with Formula 1 engineering has topped almost 167km/h as part of a record-breaking stunt in the United Kingdom.

Driven by former motorcycle racer turned TV presenter and stuntman Guy Martin, the JCB Fastrac tractor hit 103.6mph (166.7km/h) at an airfield near York, smashing a previous 140km/h tractor record set by Top Gear's The Stig in 2018.

"It had been a great day with the JCB at Elvington [airfield], proper job with some right proper engineers," said Martin. "She felt rock steady on the runway, job's a peach."

The JCB Fastrac, versions of which are sold in Australia, was heavily modified for the top speed stunt, although it kept its safety yellow paintwork.

Its 7.2-litre six-cylinder turbo diesel was tuned by engine specialists Ricardo to produce around 1000hp, or 760kW of power - more than any roadgoing Ferrari, Porsche or Lamborghini.

Top Gear’s The Stig held the previous record for piloting the world’s fastest tractor
Top Gear’s The Stig held the previous record for piloting the world’s fastest tractor

A six-speed manual gearbox replaced the CVT auto and it also had an electric supercharger fitted to assist the turbo.

Total torque output was somewhere about 2500Nm, similar to the more powerful engines hauling semi-trailers.

The four-wheel drive system was also removed, the record-breaking tractor driving only the rear wheels.

While there has been no word from the company, the 167km/h tractor also reportedly received aerodynamic work from Williams Advanced Engineering, a division of the Williams F1 team.

That included fitting smooth aerodynamic aids around the chunky tyres, presumably to reduce aerodynamic drag - something much less of an issue at the 60-70km/h top speeds typical of tractors.

Honda recently set a world record for the world’s fastest lawnmower with its Mean Mower V2.
Honda recently set a world record for the world’s fastest lawnmower with its Mean Mower V2.

Those involved in the project also removed various components as part of a weight-saving exercise to help it accelerate faster. All up some 2.5 tonnes was removed, lowering the overall weight to about five tonnes.

But the square cabin remained, albeit sitting lower to the ground as part of work to modify the suspension and lower the vehicle.

The story of the record-breaking tractor stunt is due to air as part of an upcoming TV documentary to be aired in the UK.


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