What is dragracing?
“THE SAFETY LEVEL IS HIGH.. and the VEHICLES SPECTACULAR!”
The Top Fuel Dragsters – the fastest vehicles in dragracing!
Photo by Rose Hughes taken at Santa Pod Raceway, England may-08
Dragracing is the world´s fastest and most powerful motorsport and a great experience for anyone who likes action and a good show. Drag racing was first started in the US, but today has many active teams and supporters in Europe as well as Australia and Asia. There are different classes in drag racing to include a wide range from regular street cars to the most extreme machines – the Top Fuel Dragsters – cars with 6.000 horsepowers and speeds exceeding 500 km/h over the finish line. The safety regulations in drag racing are extensive to protect the participants as well as the spectators.
Mantorp Park, Sweden hosts one of the FIA events – the last weekend in july
The race track in drag racing, also called ”the strip”, is straight and measures 402.33 meters which is equivalent to a 1/4 english mile ”the quarter mile”. There are two parallel lanes in which two opponents compete in pairs. The general rule is that the first one to cross the finish line is the winner. The whole track can be monitored at the same time, a fact that makes drag racing very appealing to many spectators. The pit area is open to the public and anyone interested can watch the teams´ preparations of the vehicles in between runs very closely. Most tracks are made partly of concrete, partly asphalt and the surface has to be thoroughly prepared with rubber and a special type of glue to get good traction.
De major events include two days of qualifications followed by one ”race day” of eliminations. The contestants qualify into elimination ladders (like in tennis), with limited number of spots in each category. The winner from each heat moves on to the next round etc. all the way to the final. The starting procedure in drag racing is executed with the help of light signals of a so called ”christmas tree”. When the vehicles pass the starting line the timing equipment start. When the finish line is crossed, the speed and elapsed times is monitored.
Since 1999 the official European Championship in drag racing is administrated by the FIA – Federation International Automobile. The same organisation also administrates the World Championships in Rally and Formula One. The events included in the FIA European Championship in drag racing are currently held in Sweden, Norway, Finland, Great Britain and Germany. There are also a number of national- and international drag racing events organised in other countries.
The #1 newssite covering european drag racing is eurodragster.com
DID YOU KNOW THIS ABOUT TOP FUEL DRAGSTERS (& funny cars) ?!
* One dragster’s 500-inch Hemi makes more horsepower then the first 8 rows at Daytona.
* Under full throttle, a dragster engine consumes 1 1/2 gallons of nitro per second, the same rate of fuel consumption as a fully loaded 747 but with 4 times the energy volume.
* The supercharger takes more power to drive than a stock hemi makes.
* Even with nearly 3000 CFM of air being rammed in by the supercharger on overdrive, the fuel mixture is compressed into nearly-solid form before ignition. Cylinders run on the verge of hydraulic lock.
* Dual magnetos apply 44 amps to each spark plug. This is the output of an arc welder in each cylinder.
* At stoichiometric (exact) 1.7:1 air/fuel mixture (for nitro), the flame front of nitromethane measures 7050 degrees F.
* Nitromethane burns yellow. The spectacular white flame seen above the stacks at night is raw burning hydrogen, dissociated from atmospheric water vapor by the searing exhaust gases.
* Spark plug electrodes are totally consumed during a pass. After 1/2 way, the engine is dieseling from compression-plus the glow of exhaust valves at 1400 degrees F. The engine can only be shut down by cutting off its fuel flow.
* If spark momentarily fails early in the run, unburned nitro builds up in those cylinders and then explodes with a force that can blow cylinder heads off the block in pieces or blow the block in half.
* Dragsters twist the crank (torsionally) so far (20 degrees in the big end of the track) that sometimes cam lobes are ground offset from front to rear to re-phase the valve timing somewhere closer to synchronization with the pistons.
* To exceed 300mph in 4.5 seconds dragsters must accelerate at an average of over 4G’s. But in reaching 200 mph well before 1/2 track, launch acceleration is closer to 8G’s.
* If all the equipment is paid off and for once NOTHING BLOWS UP, each run costs about $1000.00 per second.
* Dragsters reach over 300 miles per hour before you have read this sentence.
Did you know …
… that the nitromethane-powered engines of Top Fuel dragsters and Nitro Funny Cars produce approximately 7,000 horsepower, about 37 times that of the average street car?
… that one cylinder of the eight cylinders of a Top Fuel dragster or a Funny Car produces 750 horsepower, equaling the entire horsepower output of a NASCAR engine?
… that an Top Fuel dragster accelerates from 0 to 100 mph in less than .9-seconds, almost 11 seconds quicker than it takes a production Porsche 911 Turbo to reach the same speed?
… that a Top Fuel dragster leaves the starting line with a force nearly five times that of gravity, the same force of the space shuttle when it leaves the launching pad at Cape Canaveral?
… that a Nitro Funny Car is slowed by a reverse force more than seven times that of gravity when both parachutes deploy simultaneously?
… that Top Fuel dragsters and Funny Cars consume between four and five gallons of fuel during a quarter-mile run, which is equivalent to between 16 and 20 gallons per mile?
… that Top Fuel dragsters and Funny Cars use between 10 and 12 gallons of fuel for a complete pass, including the burnout, backup to the starting line, and quarter-mile run?
… that from a standing start, Top Fuel dragsters accelerate faster than a jumbo jet, a fighter jet, and a Formula One race car?
… that a fuel pump for a Top Fuel dragster and Funny Car delivers 65 gallons of fuel per minute, equivalent to eight bathroom showers running at the same time?
… that the fuel-line pressure for Top Fuel dragsters and Funny Cars is between 400 and 500 pounds, about 20 times greater than the pressure on passenger-car fuel pumps?
… that depending on size and angle, the large rear wing on a Top Fuel dragster develops between 4,000 and 8,000 pounds of downforce?
… that the 17-inch rear tires used on Top Fuel dragsters and Funny Cars wear out after four to six runs, or about two miles? Some brands of passenger-car tires are guaranteed for 80,000 miles.
… that it takes just 15/100ths of a second for all 7,000 horsepower of a Top Fuel dragster engine to reach the rear wheels?
… that it’s desirable for a Top Fuel dragster to race with its front wheels inches off the ground for about the first 200 feet of the run? This ensures proper weight transfer to the rear wheels, a crucial part of a good launch and quick run.
Sources: NHRA Communications and Technical Departments, misc. race teams and motorsports equipment manufacturers