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BKT supplies tyres for world’s fastest tractor

JCB recently set a world record when its 1,016hp Fastrac tractor reached a speed of 135.191mph.

The Fastrac secured the title at Elvington Airfield in York with Guy Martin at the wheel. The feat was officially ratified by Guinness World Records.

However, the world’s fastest tractor couldn’t have reached this feat without the help of BKT.

The tyre maker worked closely with JCB’s engineering team to create a technically advanced tractor tyre capable of withstanding high-speed runs in excess of 150 mph (241 km/h).

The tyre is a specially constructed 400/80 R 28 Ridemax IT 696, based on a tyre usually found in industrial applications and capable of speeds of up to 65 km/h on paved surfaces.

This tyre offers a series of excellent features and among these an outstanding rolling resistance, which turns into fuel savings and a both economic and environmental advantage.

Compared to the classic Ridemax IT 696 tyre on which it is based, this high-speed version underwent considerable changes to meet the demands of the challenge.

Firstly, tread blocks were reduced in height from 27mm to just 10mm, to improve stability and reduce unwanted movement. Secondly, the carcass was reshaped to be smaller and narrower – this improved aerodynamics and enabled two additional steel belts to be integrated into the tyre, to create much needed rigidity. This also prevented the tyre from generating excessive heat and stopped tyre growth at high rotational speeds.

Finally, this tyre has been created with more natural rubber to further improve its grip. And after digitally-created simulations, extensive rig-testing followed to obtain the best performance of the tyre, and at speeds that included a generous safety margin.

“BKT’s goal for this world record was to use a tyre that already existed in our product range and to apply our know-how to adapt it for the extreme operating conditions confronted by a five-tonne tractor producing over 1,000hp,” said Dilip Vaidya, BKT president and director of technology.

He added: “This is why we have chosen Ridemax IT 696. It is an ideal tyre for industrial applications, with a tread pattern that is suited for paved roads. Without changing the tread design, we have focused on the casing structure and its compounds, so that the end product could withstand the enormous stresses imposed by ultra-high speeds achieved by JCB’s record-breaking tractor. Extensive testing and development – in close co-operation with JCB – allowed us to reach an extraordinary technical achievement.”

For more information on BKT Tyres contact Agrigear on 042 9666 444.