Top Fuel dragsters are the fastest (in terms of acceleration) and also the most ridiculous cars that humanity has created, with 10,000+ horsepower, gigantic tires, a crazy body shape, etc. Everything is designed to move as fast as possible in the shortest possible time.
The unfortunate side effect of this quest for speed is the fact that the engine, clutch, transmission, tires, etc. are designed to last about 5 seconds. Everything is maximized in that tiny window of time, to the point where they are destroyed in the process. The engine spins less than 1,000 times under gigantic power and dies in the process.
A dragster typically starts with a huge V-8 engine (500 cubic inches or 8 liter hemi engines) and a gigantic blower (air compressor) along with a special fuel – top fuel, or nitromethane – that is pumped in at more than a gallon per second. The combination yields gigantic horsepower. This power flows through a specially designed mechanical clutch to the one-speed transmission (one speed forward and reverse) to the enormous “wrinkle wall” or “ripple wall” tires.
The track is only a quarter mile long, but the car is going 200 MPH at half-track (8 Gs) and more than 300 MPH at the end, having done it in 4 seconds or less.
The Dragster Itself
This first video is nice because, although this is not a “competition dragster”, it is build the same way and it is a great walk-around:
The Dragster Engine
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