BKT has equipped JCB’s record-breaking Fastrac tractor with specially developed tires, helping it set a new record of 135.191 mph (217.568 km/h) to enter the Guinness World Records.
The world speed record set by JCB with its 1,016 hp Fastrac tractor was achieved with the ultimate BKT know-how.
In addition to the revised chassis and powertrain developments carried out by the British tractor maker, this speed machine was also equipped with a tire specially developed by BKT and capable of withstanding high-speed runs in excess of 150 mph (241 km/h).
For the task, BKT worked closely with JCB’s engineering team to create a technically advanced tractor tire capable of handling extreme speeds and loads. The tire is a specially constructed 400/80 R 28 RIDEMAX IT 696, based on a tire usually found in industrial applications and capable of speeds of up to 65 km/h on paved surfaces.
This tire offers a series of excellent features and among these an outstanding rolling resistance, which turns into fuel savings and a both economic and environmental advantage.
Compared to the classic RIDEMAX IT 696 tire on which it is based, this high-speed version underwent considerable changes to meet the demands of the challenge.
Firstly, tread blocks were reduced in height from 27 mm to just 10 mm, to improve stability and reduce unwanted movement. Secondly, the carcass was reshaped to be smaller and narrower – this improved aerodynamics and enabled two additional steel belts to be integrated into the tire, to create much needed rigidity. This also prevented the tire from generating excessive heat and stopped tire growth at high rotational speeds.
Finally, this tire has been created with more natural rubber to further improve its grip. And after digitally-created simulations, extensive rig-testing followed to obtain the best performance of the tire, and at speeds that included a generous safety margin.
With motorbike racer and lorry mechanic Guy Martin in the driving seat, Fastrac Two achieved a maximum speed of 153.771 mph (247.470 km/h) and on its way to he recorded an average of 135.191 mph (217.568 km/h). This new speed record was almost 50% faster than the record of 103.6 mph (166.7 km/h) he set in the summer of 2019 at Elvington Airfield in York, using Fastrac One – JCB’s first record-setting tractor.
“BKT’s goal for this world record was to use a tire that already existed in our product range and to apply our know-how to adapt it for the extreme operating conditions confronted by a five-tonne tractor producing over 1,000hp,”Mr. Dilip Vaidya, BKT President and Director of Technology, states. “This is why we have chosen RIDEMAX IT 696. It is an ideal tire for industrial applications, with a tread pattern that is suited for paved roads. Without changing the tread design, we have focused on the casing structure and its compounds, so that the end product could withstand the enormous stresses imposed by ultra-high speeds achieved by JCB’s record-breaking tractor. Extensive testing and development – in close co-operation with JCB – allowed us to reach an extraordinary technical achievement.”
It is another impressive project, in which BKT’s technical team has been able to master an extreme challenge – that of modifying an agricultural tire to help secure the high-speed Fastrac tractor with a place in the record books.
“We are delighted to have provided such an important contribution to JCB’s success,” Lucia Salmaso, Managing Director of BKT Europe, concludes. “It is much more than having hit a record… For BKT, this has meant an extraordinary opportunity to test our products and to understand how far we can push. Each and every detail will be the basis for further studies for the purpose of continuously improving both our performance and safety levels.”