Watch a tractor break a Guinness speed record

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Words: Nile Bijoux
20 Nov 2019

Tractors aren’t usually near the top of the list when it comes to setting speed records but Guy Martin had different ideas.

Previously, Top Gear held the record for the world’s fastest tractor, running an average of 140km/h back in 2018 in a customised V8-powered tractor. Guy Martin, known for making things go extremely fast, decided he could do better.

He took a JCB Fastrac 8000 and stuck a tuned 7.2-litre diesel engine under the bonnet, making around 1000hp (746kW) and a chunky 2500Nm of twist. A six-speed manual replaces the standard CVT and there’s more aero than on your typical farm machine.

Along with the JCB team and a Guinness official, Martin piloted the hi-po tractor down Yorkshire's Elvington Airfield, setting an average speed of 217km/h. He managed 257km/h in one direction but the rules say you have to set two speeds in different directions and take an average for it to count as a Guinness attempt. Thanks to adverse wind, the second run was quite a bit slower than the first, leading to the 217km/h record.

Martin said, if you couldn’t understand the fast-talking Grimsbyman, the tractor “doesn’t feel like a tractor [to drive]. From the outside, it looks like a tractor but it doesn’t sit in and it doesn’t go anything like a tractor. For a tractor it goes like Billy-O."

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