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jcb and williams take the farm with a 167kph tractor

JCB and Williams take the farm with a 167kph tractor

Yes, the Formula One Williams blessed farmers with a world record tractor

Dinesh Appavu Photo

Dinesh Appavu

26 Jun 2019

There’s a quote about farmers that goes, “There’re only three things that can kill a farmer; lightning, rolling over in a tractor and old age.” Well now we have a fourth; the world’s fastest tractor with a 167kph and some Formula One knowhow under its bulk.

Industrial equipment manufacturer JCB and Williams Advanced Engineering; yes, the same guys behind the Williams F1 team, paired up to give us a tractor that put the previous record out to pasture.

Williams Advanced Engineering were essential in getting the Fastrac 8000 up to those speeds and in case you haven’t guessed, some aerodynamics came into play as well. First up, the performance figures. The 7.2-litre diesel mill makes an impressive 1000hp and an unbelievable 2,500Nm of torque. Plenty of weight was ditched in the process, in addition to the aerodynamic enhancements that would still make it only slightly more slippery through the air than a barn door.

One motoring source we never thought we’d be quoting here; Farmers Weekly, has more info on the build. The engine has its thirst quenched by a large common rail fuel system running upgraded injectors. Even the block itself had the valve seats tweaked, upgraded conrods and auxiliary piston cooling to handle the extra heat.

Most importantly, the Agco CVT transmission was ditched and replaced by a more conventional ZF six-speed manual running a multiplate wet clutch.

British former motorcycle racer and television presenter, Guy Martin, piloted the tractor to its new world record at the Elvington Airfield, near York. Martin was full of praises for the behemoth, claiming it was pretty easy to drive; “She felt rock steady on the runway, job’s a peach.”

Who exactly cooked up this idea to take an agricultural workhorse to the limits of physics? Well, none other than JCB Chairman Lord Anthony Bamford. After all, the Fastrac tractors are meant to be capable of higher road speeds but still be able to perform regular field work. Must be pretty cool to have a boss like that.

Interestingly, the JCB tractor still very much resembles a regular tractor, even with the aerodynamic additions. The previous record was held by The Stig of Top Gear behind the wheel of a custom 5.7-liter tractor that reached a 140kph.

However, that tractor had strayed drastically from its agricultural roots and didn’t resemble a tractor at all. Some would say that wasn’t really in the spirit of the record.