Christmas Road Test: World's Fastest Tractor

JCB Fastrac Two

Two Fastrac loader is the fastest tractor in the world

The JCB Fastrac has 150 h capacity. Yes indeed. We go

Six months ago, this tractor did not exist. Eleksnet has just set a new speed record in a Fastrac tractor with an impressive 103mph. But as you recently saw on Channel 4, the JCB team and designated driver, Guy Martin, don't think that's fast enough.

Therefore, Eleksnet left and was not just about upgrading the tractor, which set a July record, but built completely alone, from scratch. So now there are two very fast JCBs.

At the end of October this Fastrac Two, set a new world record for a modified tractor, at 135.191 mph over a two-way average, with a top speed at the end of Elvington's runway of 153.771 mph. Directly from there it was taken to London and put on static display, and from there it was distilled by a car of its preferred test base for this sort of thing, in Rutland. There, we have become the only other people to date to ride the JCB Fastrac loader the two fastest tractor in the world. Test this year New Year's road is the fastest Tractor in the world.

Design and engineering

Tractors, by definition, are not designed to travel at high speeds. 'Traction' blocks are designed to drive - through a lot of torque - large, heavy objects. So driving a tractor fast is anathema to agriculture and construction.

The regular Fastrac has an inherent advantage over most tractors in that it has a dedicated chassis, while most agricultural examples do not. They often don't have rear suspension, but instead of suspending taxis on a transmission at the rear, only front suspension. The Fastrac, meanwhile, has full suspension front and rear, giving it more expensive manners than most tractors. And while the Fastrac has a slightly slower speed than a Mercedes Unimog for a four-wheel drive truck, it has a high top speed for a Tractor. Since farms grow in size and fields can be miles apart, this means farmers can use a tractor rather than a truck.

You'll notice that its top speed of 43mph, however, is still far from 155mph. So to quickly, trying to keep it true to its tractorish roots requires some sort of emergency action and it's only when you see two cars side by side that you really see the command length from JCB gone.

The Fastrac looks pretty dynamic for a regular tractor, but with a high-overhead cab and tires that come into your eyes, it's still a Tractor. Next to it, the record-breaking Fastrac Two looks like a computer-generated image of the concept.

For example, it is below. The Fastrac has two deep undercarriage rails running from front to rear and the weight of those has been halved. It's sort of in three sections: there's a rear section around the suspension, an engine front section, and a center section near the cockpit. The whole thing has been removed, with the engine significantly smaller, and the front-wheel drive, which makes the usual four-wheel drive Fastrac, removed. The conventional Fastrac uses a two-ratio CVT, but the WFT does not. Instead, JCB brought in an old-school ZF six-speed h-pattern manual transmission truck. Behind the 'Box' runs over a driveshaft (albeit from the tractor), running through the rear axle with the tractor wheel's crown and pinion, via a differential spool that locks the rear wheel spinning together. In a way, if you want to go fast in a straight line, you couldn't ask for a more fitting setup: a front-mounted, longitudinally mounted, perfectly aligned six-cylinder engine via manual transmission to a locked rear diff with four large wheels aligned in the same direction.

These wheels, by the way, which come on your shoulders, not your head, are standard tractor cases and are built by GKN, a regular supplier, although they are the smallest fittings on a JCB tractor and are built to a tolerance of less than 1mm rather than the usual 3mm. They also carry weights, up to 1kg, to balance tires, tractors don't usually worry about because they don't go fast enough.

The tires themselves still carry the 'A8' speed rating marking from the shape they are made into which is 25 mph-rated standard tractor tires. However, they carry two inner stripes to limit outer expansions to no more than 2mm at 150 mph, they have more natural rubber in the mix and their tread pattern is ground down 10mm from the standard 27mm. We believe they could go further, but it still has to be a tractor after all.

Aerodynamic body additions channel air around a standard-shaped hood (that's aluminum, not steel) and a cabin that looks standard at first glance, but isn't. It has been reduced in width by 300mm and height by another 200mm, so overall, with its roofline 400mm lower than the regular Fastrac's.

Finally, then to the details, probably the most important thing: the engine. In July, when JCB originally set the record, it had an engine that produced about 500 horsepower. c.. It's a JCB 672 engine, built-in pushrod sixcylinder four-valve petrol, and its power was good enough for three figures. But to go twice as slow again, they wanted twice the power. Which meant things got very, very serious, very quickly.

The new engine has the largest turbocharger you'll find mounted on a tractor. It produces 5,0 bar of boost and, like big turbos do, don't boost big until it has plenty of air going into it. So there's an electrically powered supercharger to keep the turbo spinning at low revs, while during gear shifts, on which you can h-pattern the box, there's a submerged tank on the rear that shoots air at 100 bar into the exhaust and keeps the turbo going. spinning while grip on.

So, the big turbo is spinning all the time, which is the ace. But the 141bhp TV-litre diesel generates a lot of heat that radiates into the air intake, which is ideally what you want cool. Therefore there is a huge icy water-to-air intercooler between the turbo and the intake manifold. JCB engineers load that from 25kg of ice to each launch and by the end of the runway, it's all gone. But at the same time, it takes air from the Turbo at 280deg C and cools it down to 10deg c before it exits the intercooler.

Air enters the engine through a standard intake valve, into the cylinder, whose compression ratio has been reduced from 18:1 to 11:1, through the machined tops of the standard pistons. They push on forged connecting rods but drive a stock crankshaft. The exhaust valves are the same size as usual, but due to the extreme combustion temperatures, they are made of a different material, after which the gases reach the exhaust manifold, which is 3D printed from Inconel because it reaches almost 1000deg C. It glows red instead of only when the engine is on the test stand, but even when it is running at high speed cold air.

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So it all adds up to give the machine the kind of performance that we're coming up with at the moment, but it also means it's incredibly brittle at those power outputs. After the recording was running, Eleksnet found some microscopic gaps and saw peaks of torque up to 3300lb ft acting on the shaft. So the fuse was, sadly but inevitably, slightly bent for our test, leaving us with just over 500 hp. with., to get on. That's why the figures given here are from record-breaking runs at which point-shifting Fastrac two will give the Ford Focus RS a run for its money at high speeds. At 500 l. With. We fired it up, and on the short runway, it still did 112mph and left the Ford Ranger Raptor on its wave.

Interior

If the outside looks like a tractor that could have been rolled out of a sci-fi movie, it's a pure racing car on the inside. There's one cobra race seat bucket with head bolsters and a five-point harness, and around you in it's a pretty spartan cabin, there's polycarbonate rather than glass surfaces, with two escape hatches, a fire extinguisher and a big FIA-approved roll-cage that we've seen bolted on directly to the chassis. A few screens have taken root: we are developing devices to record a speedometer connected to a GPS data logger for tire pressure and a temperature gauge, and a large central display showing temperature and a tachometer.

On the right is a six-speed 'box, with magnetic pickups at the end of each gate, because different gears will get different throttle and torque maps so as not to ruin the diff or wheel spin (a very real possibility, terrifying). For what it is a flat panel with switches, an electrical switchboard production display and most importantly: engine start.

Performance

To start a regular tractor you turn the key, there's a buzzing sound and after a while it goes away because these machines have big batteries and compressors and a generator on board. All this is self-sufficient.

In WFT it's not that easy, because it has gone from car to you all day for several days in a row in one you don't run very often. At nine tons less than five tons, Eleksnet decided to remove some of the equipment, in addition to giving it a smaller and lighter chassis and making it a bit smaller. So there is no power, for example, because there is no hydraulic or air compressor on board. And, in fact, there is no generator.

Therefore, to start wet, you have to connect it to a generator or a truck battery, which then follows it around in case you stall. It's not that there's more of a chance, as usual in valuable, rare cars, where the nervous owner will say, please don't slip the clutch, because it's expensive, wears out quickly, and no one makes them anymore. It's different here. JCB has developed an eight-clutch that runs in a huge bath of oil and is so reliable that it is tested to fit the tractor, running at top speed while towing 20 tons, in reverse gear and slipping the clutch up to reverse gear settings.

So it can easily handle five PFC's of tons of pulling away. JCB engineers recommend that you select second gear, wind at 2500 rpm (maximum rpm at 3400 rpm hard limiter and 3000 rpm is a good change), and slip the clutch almost all the way in second gear while holding that rpm. high. It's a little easier said than done when the clutch pedal is so light and there's no noticeable feel through it, but, once swept, it's much easier.

Even less than maximum power, it's still a transmission with a very narrow operating window. Guy Martin said you could drive out into the field and plow off a wet film, which sounds great but isn't even close to being accurate. Works like an agricultural sized F1 car.

Due to the low compression ratio, combustion doesn't come easily if the temperature is too low, so there's a grid heater to pre-warm air at low speeds (yes, that's preheating air that's just passed through a massive intercooler), but this heater switches, as the speed and revs go up because he thinks there is enough heat to keep the combustion going it will be nice. Between the two states, though - after the grates, the heaters are working, but before the Tractor is laid out - it's not a joyful run. Unfortunately, this is exactly the minimum, constant speed that we like to drive for photos and videos. Here, two Fastracs are such a smoking, pounding, defiant mess that at one point we thought it had exploded. If you want to run at tractory speeds, then you can't: she likes to be idling, or thinning out.

And the apartment is amazing. A support car like the Ford Ranger Raptor tries to keep up with it, even at 500 hp. With. melody. Performance figures at full power show it hits 60 mph from a rest of 9.86 seconds, but the way this huge, five-ton machine continues to pull out is so impressive.

Even on a much shorter runway and with significantly less power than the record run in Elvington, we saw 112mph, which would have made us land speed record holders earlier this year and still leaves us second-fastest tractor drivers in the world (except for JCB in the home of testers). Which is quite pleasing.

Once a ride, it's surprisingly easy to hold and fast. After shifting gears, clutch and engine take-off is no more difficult than in a conventional car, you will never miss a gear on a large enclosed manual transmission and the gear flexibility is delivered with no hole or torque break. It is smooth and responsive if noisy engine.

But it still gets in the way. There are air brakes, massively overhauled, and standard discs are just like up to work stopping five tons from 150 h, several times on the runway, as they are nine tons plus what it takes away countless times on the road. But you remember we said no on board compressor: instead the two air tanks on the back have to be filled before each trip because they provide air to the system and when they are empty they are empty and you will have no braking besides parachute inefficiency . The engineers think there are 40 stops in the tanks and they usually recharge up to 20. But still, it's worth remembering.

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Handling and stability

The Fastrac has two-way nitrogen valves on a three-link suspension with axles front and rear, and although the cab isn't suspended, comfort is supple. I agree, we are only on the runway, not in the field.

The steering is hydraulic with three turns between the locks, and there is no direct mechanical connection to the front wheels, so you can find yourself in a situation where the standard Eleksnet steering wheel doesn't point straight though the wheels are pointed straight. But the only really weird thing about the driving experience is rather remember that the rear wheels are locked, so the turning radius is lane width. It will make tighter turns, but I don't think the rear axle will thank you for that.

But any side wind or head wind, despite the blocky shape of the car, is a straight monster. It is absolutely stable, with absolutely no drama as you run it through the gears. Starting in second and going all the way to fifth, it's a huge testament to its technical that it doesn't want to do anything other than track completely straight, despite all the throttle-light pedal controls. There is no brake feel and it's a bit like the Geneva Dallara in that there is a lot of movement in the pedal. And you're not heel and toe: you just knock the stick into neutral and when it's slow enough, insert it back into your device. It's a mundane yet deeply, deeply impressive driving experience.

Purchase and ownership

JCB is tempted to say how much it's spent not one but two tractors, but it clearly thinks it's worth it, not just marketing, but considering it's an engineering-driven company like a technical undertaking. There's been some help from Williams (aerodynamics) and Ricardo (engine), an existing SCS partner already, but there's no doubt it's an expensive car to make and a difficult one to run. We started well at 8am and it wasn't ready until noon, having gone into the hangar with the heaters blowing on its important moments for several hours because the oil in the box wasn't interested below 70deg C.

Приговор

What is so pleasant and exciting while spending time with two Fastracs is not only the car itself, but also the meeting with the engineers who come with it, who is its author, who is it and who controls it. JCB put a small, talented and young team at the helm of the project, much like Lamborghini puts brilliant young engineers, designers and testers behind the Miura. And behind the catchy headlines and JCBWFT hashtags and TV programs and even the record itself, their experience is what matters most. Because while the JCB loader knows that building the world's fastest tractor has the edge as a marketing tool, it also has huge merit as a technical exercise, and in the world of agricultural and construction machinery, the mechanical engineering industry counts on more than styling, marketing or advertising. .

So here in the five-star recording speed, five-star automatic and five-star engineers. If you want to do 150 h on a tractor, there is no one we would have more confidence in.

Fast production and the world

JCB offers two base ranges of the Fastrac tractor, the 4000 and 8000. Not surprisingly, the Fastrac two-record tractor is based on the higher spec 8000 unit.

The 8000 is the fastest production tractor in the world, with a top speed of 43mph. The main difference is that it uses JCB's own engine, the 672 block, which it puts into its cars and sells to others (and is used in the 328mph Dieselmax speed record car). The standard Fastrac 8000, though, uses an 8.4-liter engine from Finnish powerhouse manufacturer AGCO and it develops up to 349bhp and 1062lb ft.

On a regular Fastrac, that torque goes to all four wheels through a two-range continuously variable transmission – low speeds of up to 25mph if you pull the higher speeds from standstill to 43mph in Lower stress operation. The wheels have reduction hubs, too, so the wheels spin slower than the transmission – not what it gets. The production of the tractor has an electro-hydraulic drive for grabbing and locking the front and rear differentials, as well as extensive options for electric and hydraulic power take-off front and rear.

Tester Notes

You can just get on the rear wheel and swing into the cabin without going out on a fragile body, but it's easier to use a small set of steps.

Although the glass has been replaced with plexiglass, the standard door catches remain. Plus taped-in emergency hatches.

Facelift Jobs

 Some steps are suitable

 Expand working window

 Repair is a big hitch to go for a tow truck record. Your correspondents are available for a ride

We like

 Strong straight performance

 Impressive stability

 So well built that the performance mammoth feels completely at ease

We do not like

 Narrow operating temperature window

 Garbage on plowing

Road Rivals Test

JCB Fastrac two wet films: based on the 8000 series Fastrac, this is the best and, in fact, the only way to do 150 h in the Tractor at the moment. Exquisitely built, and hard to run. It's like an F1 team and a car, only much, much more.

Allis Chalmers D19: Ohio father and daughter pull tractor race veterans hit 108mph in their vintage Allis. They told farms.com “they will be waiting” if someone comes and goes faster.

Leblanc track-Thor: some motoring program 'tractor', with 500 horsepower 5,7-liter Chevrolet engine. It's not entirely clear how many tractors there are under the orange paint. Currently SORNed.

JCB Fastrac 8330: The world's fastest production tractor can pull 10 tons across a field, and is yet fully suspended, as comfortable and as capable as some trucks on the road. Many British cars.

Bigtruck: a programmable six-wheeled electric toy that could trail an apple with your dad, according to the ad. Harder than it looked to achieve top speed without launching into a sideboard.

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