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JCB trounces Top Gear for title of Britain’s fastest… tractor?

Between this and Honda's Mean Mower, 2019 is a good year for fast farm equipment.

Exceeding 100 mph in a tractor must be quite the white-knuckle experience.
JCB via Twitter

In 2018, the speed record for the fastest tractor stood at 80.8 miles per hour. In March of that year, BBC's Top Gear brought that figure up to 87.271 mph with its Top Gear Track-Tor. Now, just over one year after that record was beaten, a construction company showed up and taught everyone a lesson in building fast tractors.

J.C. Bamford Excavators Limited, otherwise known as JCB because brevity matters, announced on Friday that it had captured the British speed record for a tractor. Its 103.6-mile-per-hour sprint tacked on almost 25% more speed than Top Gear's tractor could scrounge up, but then again, JCB is a legit construction company and not a shade tree outfit of two Britons and Matt LeBlanc.

Behind the wheel for the effort was Guy Martin, a former truck mechanic turned motorcycle racer turned TV personality. "She felt rock steady on the runway, job's a peach," Martin said in a statement. I am relatively sure that is praise.

As for the tractor, the Fastrac was kept a secret the past few months in the build-up prior to its attempt. Its 7.2-liter diesel six-cylinder engine puts out some 1,000 horsepower and 1,844 pound-feet of torque. To get it ready for the run, the company worked with Williams Advanced Engineering to improve its aerodynamics, while JCB shed unnecessary weight that would only hold it back. In 2006, JCB used two of these engines to achieve a diesel land speed record when the DieselMax streamliner hit 350.092 mph at the Bonneville Salt Flats.

Between this and the Honda Mean Mower V2, I smell some kind of weird motorsport Olympics in the works.

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