Drag Racing - Times and Power [part 1]
Drag racing is one of the most interesting events in the automobile world, especially for the spectators. Essentially, it is a race between two vehicles on a special dragstrip, which is a long straight facility for conducting acceleration events. When we say vehicles, we mean everything that can run… fast! - motorcycles, cars, sports cars, "funny" cars and top fuellers. This time we will talk about ¼ mile races – 402.33 meters.
There are two main types of events – start-and-fast beat, which is very "easy" to do. Just step on the gas pedal, when the lights are green and change gears (if you drive manual). The second type is bracket racing, which is very popular, too. The contestants choose their fastest time that they think is possible and who finishes first is a winner, but if you beat your announced time of 14.20 with for example 14.05, you will lose. These rules give opportunity to slow cars to catch up with very fast ones.
Now to say something about times just to have some idea for what's really going on at the dragstrip. Usually, the normal cars around and under 200HP are in the range of 18 to 15 seconds. Those, which have sports nature, are from 14.9 to 13 seconds and the best of them are under 13 to 12 seconds. The cars with times under 15 seconds has at least 200HP and they are not very heavy like 1500kg (3306 lbs) or more. The cars around 13 seconds have 300 to 400HP and those under 13 seconds are extremely powerful – 500HP and more. Of course, there are a lot of exceptions, but normally this is the situation.
Other very important thing is the terminal speed, which again can show you how powerful the car is and how it uses that power and puts in on the tarmac. Again, usually the normal cars have terminal speeds of 120-140 km/h. The sports ones – 140 to 160 km/h and the best 160 to 190 km/h. If you see a car with over 200 km/h, it is either very tuned or very powerful with poor driver.
The start is extremely difficult, because the driver needs to know his car very well. Of course, a start with powerful car is more tricky and, but if you have launch control – congrats.
The first 60 feet (20 m) usually take from 1.6 to 2.4 seconds or more, if the driver can't drive his car very well. Once again, the normal cars (if driven perfectly) are between 2.8-2.4 seconds, the sports ones from 2.4 to 1.8 seconds and if the time is around 1.4-1.5 seconds, this is either very powerful 4x4 vehicles or a RWD with slick tires.
To be continued…