Guy Martin behind wheel for new world record JCB tractor speed in York

Guy Martin was behind the wheel to set the world record for the fastest tractor speed on national television last night.

JCB's Fastrac stormed into the record books after reaching a speed of 135.191 mph, securing the title at Elvington Airfield in York.

-> Meet the man building superbikes in his Yorkshire workshopThe feat was officially ratified by Guinness World Records minutes after the achievement.

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The story of the tractor’s development and assault on the record was told in a TV documentary on Channel 4 last night called Guy Martin: The World’s Fastest Tractor.

Guy Martin. Credit: Chris Radburn/PA Wire.Guy Martin. Credit: Chris Radburn/PA Wire.
Guy Martin. Credit: Chris Radburn/PA Wire.

The achievement comes after JCB set its first Guinness World Record for the fastest tractor at Elvington in June 2019. Called Fastrac One, it reached a speed of 103.6 mph with Guy 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 version.

Fastrac Two hit an astonishing peak speed of 153.771mph on its way to recording an average of 135.191mph at Elvington.

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Both tractors are based on a standard, commercially available JCB Fastrac which is sold around the world.

Credit: CSM Sport & Entertainment.Credit: CSM Sport & Entertainment.
Credit: CSM Sport & Entertainment.

Martin, who was born in Grimsby, said: “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.”

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A team of engineers has been working on the project to further develop the tractor over the last few months and JCB chairman Lord Bamford praised their “amazing achievement.”

He said: “When we reached 103.6mph 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. 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, which confirmed that the JCB Fastrac completed two runs, in either direction through a speed trap set 1km apart, within the allotted time, to set the 135.191mph record.

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JCB chief innovation and growth officer Tim Burnhope said: “Fastrac One really proved to us that there are no limits to what a young and dynamic engineering team can achieve.

"So we pushed boundaries and ideas, and looked at all aspects of the project to find solutions and make improvements.

"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.”

JCB is no stranger to land speed records. In 2006, its Dieselmax streamliner set a new diesel land speed record when it reached 350.092mph on Bonneville Salt Flats in the USA, using two JCB Dieselmax engines. It is a record that still stands to this day.