Diesel on the salts

JCB dieselmax breaks 300mph

Wing Commander Andy Green OBE adds wheel-driven record to jet car achievements

It’s a little after 8am on the Bonneville Salt Flats and a yellow streamliner is easing to a halt. Wing Commander Andy Green clambers out. There is a crackle on the radio and a cheer — the JCB Dieselmax has just set a new diesel land speed record of 328.767mph, smashing the previous record of 236mph.

For JCB’s Chairman, Sir Anthony Bamford, this marks the fulfilment of a dream. “I grew up reading about Stirling Moss, Donald Campbell, Salt Lake and Bonneville,” he says. “I thought that a record attempt would be a great way of publicising our diesel engines.”

It was left to JCB’s Engineering Director, Dr Tim Leverton, to turn the dream into reality, the streamliner employing two turbodiesels, each engine tuned to produce 750bhp, giving a total output of 1500bhp.

For Green, last seen doing 763mph in Thrust SSC, this was a different kind of challenge. “A wheel-driven record is very different,” he says, “and 300mph never feels slow!” See page 86 for our technical analysis.