TV celebrity Richard Hammond today got behind the controls of two of the world’s most innovative machines manufactured for the construction and agricultural industries.

The Grand Tour presenter visited JCB’s World Headquarters at Rocester, Staffordshire and JCB Heavy Products in Uttoxeter where he put the company’s high-powered machines through their paces.

He took the controls of the brand new 20-tonne tracked excavator, the 220X, which was launched earlier this year following a £110 million development programme. Next for a test drive was the high speed JCB Fastrac 8000 Series tractor, which reaches speeds of 70kph.

“It’s great to be here at JCB where the machines are so tough that I think even I will struggle to break anything,” says Hammond. “JCB is an iconic brand and when you think of engineering excellence, boldness and innovation, these big yellow machines are right up there with the best.”

“Richard has driven many vehicles over the years and we are delighted that JCB’s machines have been put through their paces by such a well-respected authority in the motoring world,” says JCB Worldwide Marketing Director Michael Plummer.