'Fastest man on wheels' prepares for another world record

2 Aug 06

The 'fastest man on wheels’ - RAF pilot Wing Commander Andy Green, Officer Commanding Operations Wing at RAF Wittering near Peterborough - has undertaken his final series of test runs in the UK in preparation for his attempt on yet another world land speed record.

Driving a purpose designed streamliner car – the JCB Dieselmax - Andy is hoping to achieve speeds of over 300 (483 km) miles per hour in the vehicle to become the ‘World’s fastest diesel’.

Andy, from Atherstone in Warwickshire, set the first ever supersonic world land speed record, reaching speeds of 763.035 (1,228 km) miles per hour, in the ThrustSSC in October 1997. The current diesel record, set in August 1973, at 235.756 (380 km) miles per hour is held by Virgil W Snyder and the Thermo King Streamliner.

Wing Commander Andy Green is in charge of running the airfield and other station operations. RAF Wittering is the traditional home of the Harrier and more recently the home of the RAF Logistics Hub. Andy is a trained fast-jet pilot, having flown Phantoms, F4s and Tornado F3s during his RAF career.

During the final day of preliminary trials Andy's car reached a top speed of 195 (314 km) miles per hour. Its test speed was only limited because of the length of the 1.6 mile (2.6 km) northern runway at RAF Wittering. Andy said:

"Nine years ago I drove Richard Noble’s Thrust supersonic car to 763 miles an hour. As a fast jet pilot and with that background , it wasn’t a great surprise when Richard phoned me up and said 'I’m helping JCB put this project together would you like to drive this car'.

"Nine years ago I drove Richard Noble’s Thrust supersonic car to 763 miles an hour."

Flying the flag: Wing Commander Andy Green wants to show the world just how good British engineering can be

Instrument panel on the JCB Dieselmax

RAF Wittering - Run 22, 195mph

Andy in the vehicle

"I had to think about it for nearly two seconds before I agreed to have a chat with him. It’s not just a showcase for JCB, its about showing how good British engineering is. The whole package - the Ricardo-developed JCB engines and the visionary chassis - is a fantastic product and we are going to go to the world famous Bonneville speed week to show not just the Americans but the whole world just how good British engineering is."

To reach speeds of over 300 (483 km) miles per hour, JCB in conjunction with Ricardo plc, developed the world’s most powerful automotive diesel engine – the JCB444 - at 150 brake horse power per litre. The JCB Dieselmax car, weighs four times as much as a Formula 1 car at 2,700 kilograms and twice as fast. It is powered by two 750 brake horse power two-stage turbocharged JCB444 diesel engines driving through separate six speed transmissions.

The team will depart for the United States on 9 August 2006 and take part in the Bonneville Speed Week between 12-18th August in preparation for the record attempt. The world record attempt will take place at the Bonneville Salt Flats in Utah, USA on 21 August 2006. The record attempt will consist of two runs of nine miles (14.5 km). Each run will involve four miles (6km) of speed up, a ‘flying mile’ and four miles (6km) of slow down.

The record attempt was the brainchild of Sir Anthony Bamford, the Chairman of JCB. JCB, perhaps better known for being one of the leading companies in the design and manufacture of construction equipment, have brought in a team of experts to design the car, led by JCB Group Engineering Director Dr Tim Leverton with Richard Noble, the former land speed record holder acting as a consultant. RAF personnel were also involved in advising the design team of the deployment and operation of the parachute system to slow the vehicle down.

Sir Anthony Bamford said:

"We began this project with one basic aim. Everything always comes back to that same starting point; we are doing this to prove our engine. To power the world’s fastest diesel car with two JCB engines designed for our construction machines will be a huge achievement."

JCB Dieselmax powers down the runway at Wittering.
[Picture: Cpl Smith RAF]

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