JCB Dieselmax breaks barrier

The 200mph barrier has been broken by the JCB Dieselmax in UK testing for an attempt on the land speed record for diesel-powered vehicles on the Bonneville Salt Flats, USA.

The 200mph barrier has been broken by the JCB Dieselmax in UK testing for an attempt on the land speed record for diesel-powered vehicles on the Bonneville Salt Flats, Utah, USA later this month. During two weeks of testing at RAF Wittering, Peterborough, the diesel-powered JCB car achieved a top speed of 201mph and seven runs over 180mph.

The 750BHP engines of the JCB Dieselmax have been developed in partnership with Ricardo during the course of the past 18 months. “I’m so impressed with what has been achieved – exceeding 200mph really shows the potential of the car to break the record,” said Wing Commander Andy Green, the fastest man on earth, who is piloting the car. “Combined the engines have twice the power of a Formula 1 car and it’s remarkably easy to drive. It steers very well, the brakes work smoothly and the chassis is extremely stiff. That gives you the confidence you need when accelerating to very high speeds and then coming to a stop in a limited space.

“We’ve been working to an exceptionally tight timescale and we’re having to learn new things every day, from engine and transmission performance to parachute deployment,” he continued. “It’s impossible for everything to work perfectly when testing land speed record vehicles as you’re pushing the boundaries but we’re on target.”

RAF Wittering was selected as the best UK venue for preparing for the Bonneville Salt Flats as it is exceptionally flat. However, the runway is only 1.6 miles long compared with the nine miles available in Bonneville so this has limited the car’s speed to 200mph. During the trials Green has had 1200hp available while on the Salt Flats the two engines will produce their full combined power of 1500bhp, allowing Dieselmax to reach its true potential, weather conditions permitting. The current world diesel land speed record stands at 235mph, while JCB is targeting 300mph.

The team travels to the USA later this week to undergo further vital testing on the salt flats at the legendary Bonneville Speed Week event prior to the record attempt the following week. The race is now on to dismantle the car and the technical support operation ready for air freighting everything from London’s Stansted airport to Salt Lake City. The operation will then be reassembled ready to resume trials on 12th August.