THE YEAR 2006 will be remembered as the one in which diesels became a force in motorsports. On the heels of Audi's R10 Le Mans champion comes the JCB Dieselmax, a twin-engine, all-wheel-drive streamliner that set a new world land-speed record for diesel-powered vehicles. In August at the Bonneville Salt Flats, the car recorded a two-way average of 350.092 mph, shattering the previous FIA diesel mark by more than 100 mph. Its fastest single run was 365 mph.
JCB, a British maker of construction equipment, developed the twenty-nine-foot-long 'liner to showcase its stout new 4.4-liter turbo-diesel engine. In a humble JCB backhoe, the engine makes 140 hp; highly modified for Dieselmax duty, each engine produced 750 hp. Andy Green, the RAF fighter pilot who in 1997 set the ultimate land-speed record--763 mph--in the turbine-powered ThrustSSC, was behind the wheel of this blazing-yellow-and-black salt shaker.