How to Set a Record? Thanks to a Record Team!

The world speed record set by JCB with its 1,016 hp Fastrac Two tractor was achieved with the ultimate BKT know-how.
In addition to the revised chassis and powertrain developments carried out by the well-known 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 400/80R28 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 regular RIDEMAX IT 696 tire on which it is based, this high-speed version underwent considerable changes to meet the demands of the challenge.

Firstly, the 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 2 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 truck mechanic Guy Martin in the driving seat, Fastrac Two achieved a maximum speed of 247,470 km/h (153,771 mi/h) with a recorded average of 217,570 km/h (135,191 mi/h) to enter the Guinness World Records. The previous speed record was 166.7 km/h (103.6 mi/h), set in the summer of 2019, also at the Elvington Airfield, 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 5 t tractor producing over 1,000 hp,” stated Dilip Vaidya, BKT president and director of Technology. “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,” added Lucia Salmaso, managing director of BKT Europe. “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.” 

Source: Balkrishna Industries Ltd. (BKT)

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