JCB GT backhoe now officially the world’s fastest

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  • Earthmovers & Exacavators

JCB’s super-modified, 1,000-horsepower GT backhoe has ended a successful Australian tour by being crowned the fastest backhoe loader in the world with a speed of 116.82km/h.

JCB GT backhoe now officially the world’s fastest
The JCB GT backhoe and driver Matthew 'The Dig' Lucas in Sydney.

Guinness World Records this week confirmed the speed, which was set in front of independent record officials during the Supercheap Auto Bathurst 1000 weekend in New South Wales.

Normally based at JCB’s HQ in Staffordshire, UK, the latest JCB GT has a loader and digger end made completely out of aluminium. With a light weight steel chassis and JCB Fastrac tractor rear axle, the JCB GT was originally designed to do high-speed wheelies to thrill crowds at drag strips in the United States.

It came to Australia to perform at motoring events, including Bathurst, the Deni Ute Muster in Deniliquin, NSW, the Gold Coast 600 in Queensland and the Australian Nationals in Sydney. The JCB GT will wrap up its 2014 Australian tour at next month’s season-final Sydney 500 V8 race.

"The JCB GT has always been regarded as the fastest backhoe around and now it’s official," says JCB Pacific managing director Fab Carrettin. "It’s fantastic to have achieved this record."

Glenn McLeod, backhoe product manager for JCB dealer JCB Construction Equipment Australia (CEA) adds: "The 116.82 km/h we achieved was actually higher than the 110km/h benchmark set for us by Guinness World Records. We couldn’t be happier with the results."

In a nod to Top Gear’s famous and (mostly) anonymous driver The Stig, JCB’s always-helmeted GT driver is known as The Dig. However, he’s now revealed his true identity as JCB demonstration driver Matthew Lucas from Staffordshire in England.

"It was great to be involved in such an exciting project and a real honour to be behind the wheel when we achieved the record," Lucas says.

When the first model JCB GT made its debut in 1988 it was made of fibreglass and aluminium and powered by a V8 Chevvy engine. It was driven by long-serving employee Malcolm Grindey, who spent two years demonstrating its capabilities all over the world, including an appearance at the Formula One Australian Grand Prix in 1990.

"I have very fond memories of putting the JCB GT through its paces in the Australian Grand Prix so it’s great news that it’s secured the title as the world’s fastest digger on Australian soil nearly 25 years later," says Grindey, who also lives in Staffordshire.

JCB, which celebrated its 60th anniversary this time last year, says the latest record is not the only one that its backhoe holds: "The machine has been the world’s biggest selling backhoe loader for 14 consecutive years. The company has made more than half a million backhoes in the past 61 years since inventing the machine in 1953."

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