New diesel land speed record

Rudolph Diesel would be pleased, I think. The way I read his story, he was depressed that so many people judged his design for what it could do at the time rather than for its potential. Now, more than 100 years later diesel engines are finally getting the interest that they deserve in terms of research investments that are leading to incredible breakthroughs in efficiency and performance:

Today the JCB DIESELMAX became the ‘world’s fastest diesel’ , a fantastic and emotional day the team! The FIA timed the car at an average speed of 328.767mph subject to FIA ratification, breaking the old record of 235mph.

Through the timed mile a fine 333.364mph speed was recorded despite Andy mistakenly braking before the end of the mile!

No matter, the record was in the bag, broken by almost 100mph. Time for a mass of media photographs and interviews before the team wheeled the car away.

Tomorrow the car will be in action again on the Salt Flats, aiming to raise the bar further! This evening there is more work to do with the aim of improving the cooling system.

Very exciting news and the best of luck to the team tomorrow. I think this is a bit of a stretch, though:

JCB DIESELMAX will occupy a unique place in record breaking history as the first car designed entirely by computer. Besides advanced aerodynamics that break fresh ground the car is innovative in other areas.

Surely someone was giving the computer instructions? You just can’t tell me that someone typed “world’s fastest diesel” into their favorite search engine and a finished design popped-out…that’s about as likely as the answer “42”.

The most impressive part of the story, for me at least, is the ability to take a diesel industrial powerplant and turn it into a high-performance speed machine:

The results of the JCB DIESELMAX engine development work are truly impressive and the headline figures speak for themselves: with each delivering peak power of 750hp and torque of 1500Nm, the engines are over five times the power of the production version and at 150hp/litre, they exceed even motorsports applications as the world’s highest specific power diesel car engines.

I was just saying to someone the other day that my next car might just be a Caterpillar, given their investment in diesel technology. The hybrids are cool, but many people are still unaware that a diesel engine today already gives better economy than a Prius. Thus, it only makes sense that a clean-diesel hybrid…

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