Guy Martin, a lorry mechanic turned motorbike racer obliterated the record for the world's fastest tractor by reaching 217km per hour in a JCB Fastrac. Martin is also known as an 'all-around speed freak' and has records for the fastest speed on a gravity-powered snow sledge, the fastest soapbox and highest speed on a Wall of Death. In his recent attempt, the 38-year-old got behind JCB Fastrac 4000 which was specially modified with help from Formula 1 designers Williams Engineering which led to the achievement of a new record of 166.79 km per hour and later shattering that record at 217.570 km per hour.
The British engineering firm JCB partnered with an international media outlet to follow Martin's journey. During the show, Martin also built a full replica of a World War I tank. He told Guinness world record, "There are some good folk there and they said about this idea of building the world's fastest tractor. So I said 'if you want it piloting give us a shout' and that’s where it came about”. After the tractor was complete everyone from the team met at Elvington airfield which is a former RAF station in North Yorkshire.
Martin first attempted back in June when his team just focused on reaching the 100 mph mark. The same day after a series of shakedown the lorry-mechanic was able to secure the record with 103.64 mph. While Martin's tractor might look like a tractor but it was very different from the original one. The standard engine was replaced with a modified JCB engine producing power over 1,000 hp while a new six-speed transmission and a smaller cab had been installed. According to Guinness World Record, other modifications included a new aluminium bonnet, additional bodywork such as the front bumper, side panniers, rear diffuser, underbody pan and a lighter chassis.
Martin said, “It 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. You have a five-point harness, there’s no radio, there’s no cup holder, no fridge. Most tractors have a fridge and air-con. It doesn’t have autosteer on it.”