Williams Advanced Engineering (WAE) was part of the team supporting JCB’s (www.jcb.com
) recent attempt to build the world’s fastest tractor.
Using its expertise in aerodynamics, WAE’s brief was to maximise the aerodynamic performance of the tractor, without ‘compromising the integral shape of the vehicle’.
The team analysed key areas of a standard JCB Fastrac tractor, to see which could deliver the biggest reduction in drag. In addition to adding an ‘aero bumper’, a flat underfloor was incorporated to ensure smoother airflow under
The mirrors were removed from the cab, the front overhang was reduced, and the rear fairings were adapted to ‘close the wake behind the cab’. Further modifications ensured that only clean air was being drawn into the turbo inlets.
In all, WAE (www.williamsf1.com/advanced-engineering
) ran more than 65 individual computational fluid dynamics (CFD) simulations. The result was a 25% reduction in drag over the standard Fastrac tractor.
In the hands of motorbike racer, lorry mechanic and TV presenter Guy Martin, the vehicle achieved a top speed of 153.771mph (and an average speed of 135.191mph) at Elvington Airfield (near York), securing the Guinness record for the ‘World’s Fastest Tractor’.
Ian Turner, head of aerodynamics at WAE, said: “This has been a fascinating project, one that really showcases the effect that aerodynamic optimisation can have on speed and the versatility of CFD applications.
In this instance, we’ve been able to bring learnings from race car design to an agricultural vehicle and realise significant aerodynamic improvements.
"We are proud to have played an integral role in the project and would like to offer our huge congratulations to the team at JCB and partner companies for breaking the world speed record for a tractor.”