In 2018, Top Gear’s anonymous test driver, The Stig, took a modified tractor called the “Track-tor” to a top speed of 87.2 mph. This was a tractor speed world record. Now, just over a year later, that record has been shattered to pieces by tractor company JCB, Williams Advanced Engineering, and motorcycle racing legend Guy Martin.
The record-setter, which managed to reach an average top speed of 103.6 mph, uses one of JCB’s 4000-series Fastrac tractors as a base, with unnecessary items stripped out to keep weight down. The engine is a JCB-built 7.2-liter diesel straight-six making 1000 horsepower and 1844 lb-ft of torque. According to Farmers Weekly, the engine has upgraded valve seats and connecting rods, as well as auxiliary piston cooling and an external oil cooler to deal with all the heat it generates. In place of the normal CVT sits a six-speed ZF manual transmission paired with a multi-plate wet clutch. Power gets to the rear wheels via a locked differential.
Williams Advanced Engineering, the long-running F1 team behind Singer’s Dynamics and Lightweighting Study and Lotus’s future drivetrain development, helped JCB with aerodynamics to ensure the tractor would be able to overcome the immense drag of this massive piece of field equipment.
With Martin at the wheel, the tractor performed two runs in opposite directions at Elvington Airfield near York, England. The tractor averaged 103.6 mph, beating out the Stig by 16.4 mph and setting a new tractor speed record in the process.
Video of the run has yet to be released, but will be shown as a part of a documentary on what it took to build this tractor later in the year on BBC4 in the UK.
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