JCB hint at new diesel land speed record bid
Fresh attempt not ruled out as company celebrates tenth anniversary of Dieselmax world record
JCB chairman Lord Bamford has indicated that a fresh attempt on the world diesel land speed record could be made in the future – if the one set by JCB exactly a decade ago is ever broken.
He was speaking at an event earlier this week to celebrate the tenth anniversary of the JCB Dieselmax car – powered by two JCB engines – setting a diesel land speed record of 350.092 miles/h on the Bonneville Salts Flats, in the US, on 23 August 2006.
Lord Bamford joined members of the record-breaking team at the company’s World HQ in Rocester, Staffordshire, on Tuesday, ahead of a special dinner to mark the milestone.
He told the assembled team: ‘You did an amazing job in achieving the diesel land speed record – it was our own Olympics and we won it. My biggest regret is that nobody else has beaten our record. Let’s hope someone else comes along and we can have another crack at the record.’
Lord Bamford came up with the idea of attempting a land speed record when JCB decided to get into diesel engines. ‘It was a very serious project and I wanted to make sure that our engine wasn’t regarded as being just a digger engine,’ he said. ‘I wanted to prove that it was, in fact, state-of-the art.’
Project director Tim Leverton added: ‘When Lord Bamford first asked me about whether we could attempt the speed record I just thought he was mad. People often ask me what was the most amazing thing about being part of this project and I have no hesitation in saying: the team.
‘I’d like to thank Lord Bamford for sharing his dream with us. He gave us the chance to make that dream our own and create our own piece of history.’
Among those joining in the celebrations was Wing Commander Andy Green, who drove the Dieselmax car. He said: ‘It’s great to celebrate 10 years of this team being world champions.
‘I have been back to Bonneville a few times since we set the record and the Americans are still today talking about the 350 miles/h record and asking when will the ‘big yellow car’ come out to play again.
‘It is extraordinary: you are still world champions 10 years later and it’s a great source of pride to have been part of this team.’
Also at the celebrations was retired JCB employee Colin Bond, who had the job of driving a high-speed JCB Fastrac tractor on the salt flats to give the Dieselmax car its push-off ahead of achieving the record. He said: ‘It’s been fantastic to be back with the team again. Meeting everyone 10 years down the road has been absolutely great. Pushing the car and then seeing it break the record was amazing.’