JCB Celebrates 10th Anniversary of Diesel Speed Record | Construction News

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JCB Chairman Lord Bamford spoke at a recent event celebrating the 10th anniversary of the JCB Dieselmax car setting a world speed record for diesel-powered vehicles.

Powered by two JCB engines, the car blazed across Utah's Bonneville salt flats at 350.092 mph on August 23, 2006.

Lord Bamford joined members of the record-setting team at JCB's world headquarters in Rocester, Staffordshire, England, before a special dinner to commemorate the milestone.

Bamford came up with the idea of attempting a land speed record when JCB decided to get into diesel engines.

“It was a very serious project and I wanted to make sure that our engine wasn’t regarded as being just a heavy equipment engine,” said Bamford “I wanted to prove that in fact it was state of the art.”

“When Lord Bamford first asked me about whether we could attempt the speed record, I just thought he was mad,” said project director Tim Leverton. “People often ask me what the most amazing thing was about being part of this project, and I have no hesitation in saying: ‘the team.’ I’d like to thank Lord Bamford for sharing his dream with us. He gave us the chance to make that dream our own and create our own piece of history.” 

Among those joining in the celebrations was Wing Commander Andy Green, who drove the car.

“It’s great to celebrate 10 years of this team being world champions,” said Green. “I have been back to Bonneville a few times since we set the record and people are still talking about the 350-mph record and asking when the 'big yellow car' will come out to play again. Ten years later, we are still world champions, and it has been a great source of pride to have been part of this team.”                                                       

Since production began in 2004, JCB has made about 375,000 engines at its plants in Derbyshire, UK, and India. JCB originally began producing engines to power its own machines. Today, more than 70% of the company’s products are fitted with a JCB engine. Also, companies around the world now buy JCB engines for their products. Overseas third-party sales grew by more than 325% between 2012 and 2014.

On August 23, JCB Power Systems was also presented with two Queen’s Awards for the JCB engine – one honoring innovation and another marking a massive growth in overseas sales to third-party customers.