How Ricardo helped Guy Martin's latest record-breaking challenge

How Ricardo helped Guy Martin's latest record-breaking challenge
21 November 2019

Ricardo's multi-sector interests means we get involved in unique challenges outside of the rail sector...

Though our rail team numbers more than 600 specialists across the world, we are just one part of a global business with a rich engineering heritage that is also supporting clients in the automotive, motorsport, energy and government sectors.

One arena where we hold a long-established reputation for pushing technical boundaries is the development of high-performance engines for unique speed record attempts.

In 2006 our colleagues in Ricardo Automotive helped develop the JCB Dieselmax engines that reached speeds of 360mph - still the Land Speed Record for a diesel-powered car.

But a more recent example was broadcast to UK audiences by Channel Four this week in a new documentary, 'Guy Martin: The World’s Fastest Tractor'.

For this project Ricardo applied cutting edge digitalisation methods in an ambitious attempt to push a modified agricultural tractor, normally weighing around 8.5 tonnes, to speeds of over 135 miles per hour (see Ricardo Press Release).

To achieve the power, torque and transient response requirements, Ricardo deployed a high- pressure ratio turbocharger, electric supercharger and air pulse system to the JCB 7.2 litre, 6-cylinder engine. Separately, the external aerodynamics were optimised using Ricardo’s CFD and virtual reality visualisation technology, such that engineers could participate in design reviews remotely from JCB and other participating companies. In our experience, meeting such challenges helps drive our expertise in new directions that soon feeds our other projects.

In a Q&A blog for the Ricardo website, Ricardo Director Project Director Matt Beasley and JCB Group Director of Engines, Alan Tolley explain how the team approached this unique challenge, the technologies they chose and how they applied them. Read the Q&A here.

"We knew Ricardo could be relied upon to deliver in the tight time frame, and we knew we could forge a unified high performance team with them, as we had on previous projects."


- Alan Tolley, Director of Engine Program, JCB