In August, a nine-metre long, pencil-shaped vehicle powered by two 5-litre heavily modified and twin-turbocharged JCB444 diesel engines generating 750bhp each, will make its bid on the US’s Bonneville Salt Flats in Utah.
You’ll normally find these engines doing something far more prosaic in the back of a backhoe loader but, in this application, they’ll be pumping out 1,500bhp and a stump-pulling 2,212lb-ft of torque.
JCB is aiming for 300mph, which is way above the current record holder’s 235.756mph. It was achieved by Virgil Snyder driving the Thermo King Streamliner, and was set in 1973.
JCB has brought on board Wing Commander Andy Green, the first human to drive at supersonic speeds while keeping his wheels on the ground. That was in Thrust SSC back in 1997, a project overseen by Richard Noble. Noble is also managing the JCB attempt, together with aerodynamicist Ron Ayers who helped with the design of the SSC.
JCB chairman Sir Anthony Bamford said: "It has always been our company tradition that the way to make progress is to push forward with a sense of urgency and to seek new challenges. The search for the next innovative step is the cornerstone of our business along with a strong sense of adventure."
It’s taken JCB two years to get this far – here’s wishing them luck. What with racing cars using diesels, the oilburner is now well and truly on the map.