Everyone’s favourite daredevil and engineering enthusiast TT racer Guy Martin has entered the record books for driving a tractor at 153 mph (an average speed of 135 mph over the run), smashing the previous record – a record also held by Martin and JCB – by over 30mph.
Martin took the record at Elvington Airfield in Yorkshire piloting ‘Fastrac Two’, made by JCB as part of a channel 4 documentary Guy Martin: The World’s Fastest Tractor.
Having set the previous record in June 2019, the team were adamant they could achieve higher speeds, but for the drag factor of a machine optimised to perform at low speeds, not land speed records.
Williams Advanced Engineering – the technology and engineering services business of Williams F1 – joined the effort, and their knowledge and experience of aerodynamics allowed Fastrac Two to cut drag to around 75% of that of its predecessor.
They did this by introducing a new streamlined front bumper, a flat underfloor and updating the cab and rear fairings, along with other modifications to allow more air into the turbo intakes.
Any parts of the tractor that added unnecessary weight, such as mirrors, were jettisoned (I don’t suppose there’s much need to see what’s behind you when you’re travelling 150mph in a tractor!).
Williams ran around 65 computer simulations in order to maximise the potential of the tractor and the modifications they were making before Martin and the team headed to York for their next attempt.
“This has been a challenging and fascinating project, one that really showcases the effect that aerodynamic optimisation can have on speed and the versatility of CFD applications.” said Ian Turner, Head of Aerodynamics at Williams Advanced Engineering of the project.
“We’ve been able to bring learnings from race car design to an agricultural vehicle and in doing so, have been able to realise significant aerodynamic improvements.”
“We are proud to have played an integral role in the project and would like to offer our huge congratulations to the team at JCB and partner companies for breaking the world speed record for a tractor.”
Guy Martin added (in true Guy Martin style): “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.”