Machinery & Products

Fast-tracking with JCB

By Dairy News

The world speed record set by JCB with its 1016 hp Fastrac tractor was achieved with the ultimate BKT know-how.

In addition to the revised chassis and powertrain developments carried out by the British tractor maker, this speed machine was also equipped with a tyre specially developed by BKT and capable of withstanding high-speed runs in excess of 241 km/h.

For the task, BKT worked closely with JCB’s engineering team to create a technically advanced tractor tyre capable of handling extreme speeds and loads.

The tyre is a specially constructed 400/80 R 28 RIDEMAX IT 696, based on a tyre usually found in industrial applications and capable of speeds of up to 65 km/h on paved surfaces.

This tyre offers a series of excellent features and among these an outstanding rolling resistance, which turns into fuel savings and a both economic and environmental advantage.

Compared to the classic RIDEMAX IT 696 tyre, on which it is based, this high-speed version underwent considerable changes to meet the demands of the challenge.

Firstly, tread blocks were reduced in height from 27 mm to just 10 mm, to improve stability and reduce unwanted movement.

Secondly, the carcase was reshaped to be smaller and narrower — this improved aerodynamics and enabled two additional steel belts to be integrated into the tyre, to create much needed rigidity.

This also prevented the tyre from generating excessive heat and stopped tyre growth at high rotational speeds.

Finally, this tyre has been created with more natural rubber to further improve its grip.

And after digitally-created simulations, extensive rig-testing followed to obtain the best performance of the tyre, and at speeds that included a generous safety margin.

With motorbike racer and lorry mechanic Guy Martin in the driving seat, Fastrac Two achieved a maximum speed of 247 km/h and an average speed of 218 km/h.

This new speed record was almost 50 per cent faster than the record of 166.7 km/h set in the summer of 2019 at Elvington Airfield in York, using Fastrac One — JCB’s first record-setting tractor.