A fleet of JCB machines powered by engines made in Derbyshire are revving up to play a key role in this year’s Formula One British Grand Prix.
Rocester-based JCB is providing 14 of its Loadall telescopic handlers for the event, which will take place at the Silverstone race circuit, in Northamptonshire, next weekend.
The machines, powered by engines made at JCB Power Systems at Foston, can lift weights of three tonnes and will be used to recover crashed cars throughout the race weekend.
The Loadalls have all been fitted with a special jib attachment, devised by JCB, to allow its machines to remove stricken cars more quickly.
George Cooper, a Loadall development engineer at JCB, helped develop the attachment. He will also be one of five JCB staff on hand to drive the Loadalls at the circuit, working alongside nine qualified telescopic handler operators employed by Silverstone.
Mr Cooper said: “We have been working with motor sport governing body the FIA to develop the special Loadall over the last six months.
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“It will make its debut at Silverstone and we will be there to operate them and continually assess their performance.
“The main benefit of the new jib attachment is it moves the lifting point of the car away from the actual machine, so it makes it easier and safer to recover a vehicle from the track.
“The 14 machines will be strategically located around the circuit on bends and at points where the likelihood of a car spinning off is higher.
“We are in for four long days as we will be on duty from 7am to 6pm, Thursday to Sunday, but it will be great to see the machines doing their job and helping to keep the races flowing smoothly.”
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Cars that JCB will be hoping its machines will not be called upon to rescue from the gravel traps at Silverstone are those belonging to the Williams Martini Racing F1 team.
Earlier this year, the digger manufacturer announced that it had entered into a partnership with the British-based team. As a result of the deal, JCB branding has been appearing on the chassis and rear wing of the two Williams Mercedes FW40 cars driven by Brazilian Felipe Massa and Canadian Lance Stroll.
JCB branding also features on drivers’ race suits and helmets. And, from the British Grand Prix onwards, the branding will feature on all Williams trackside personnel team kit.
Source: Derby Telegraph