ACCELERATION PUT INTO PERSPECTIVE
One Top Fuel dragster 500 cubic-inch Hemi engine makes more
horsepower (8,000 HP) than the first 4 rows at the Daytona
Under full throttle, a dragster engine consumes 11.2 gallons
of nitro methane per second; a fully loaded 747 consumes jet
fuel at the same rate with 25% less energy being produced.
A stock Dodge Hemi V8 engine cannot produce enough power to
merely drive the dragster's supercharger.
With 3000 CFM of air being rammed in by the supercharger on
overdrive, the fuel mixture is compressed into a near-solid
form before ignition.
Cylinders run on the verge of hydraulic lock at full throttle.
At the stoichiometric 1.7:1 air/fuel mixture for nitro methane
the flame front temperature measures 7050 degrees F.
Nitro methane 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.
Dual magnetos supply 44 amps to each spark plug. This is the
output of an arc welder in each cylinder.
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 the fuel flow.
If spark momentarily fails early in the run, unburned nitro
builds up in the affected cylinders and then explodes with
sufficient force to blow cylinder heads off the block in
pieces or split the block in half.
Dragsters reach over 300 MPH before you have completed reading
In order to exceed 300 MPH in 4.5 seconds, dragsters must
accelerate an average of over 4 G's.
In order to reach 200 MPH well before
half-track, the launch acceleration approaches 8 G's.
Top Fuel engines turn approximately 540 revolutions from light
Including the burnout, the engine must only survive 900
revolutions under load.
The redline is actually quite high at 9500 RPM.
THE BOTTOM LINE: Assuming all the equipment is paid off, the
crew worked for free, & for once, NOTHING BLOWS UP, each run
costs an estimated $1,000 per second.
0 to 100 MPH in .8 seconds (the first 60 feet of the run)
0 to 200 MPH in 2.2 seconds (the first 350 feet of the run)
6 g-forces at the starting line (nothing accelerates faster on
6 negative g-forces upon deployment of twin chutes at 300 MPH
An NHRA Top Fuel Dragster accelerates quicker than any other
land vehicle on earth . . quicker than a jet fighter plane . .
. quicker than the space shuttle. The current Top Fuel
dragster elapsed time record is 4.420 seconds for the
quarter-mile (2004, Doug Kalitta). The top speed record is
337.58 MPH as measured over the last 66' of the run (2005,
Putting this all into perspective:
You are driving the average $140,000 Lingenfelter twin-turbo
powered Corvette Z06. Over a mile up the road, a Top Fuel
dragster is staged & ready to launch down a quarter-mile strip
as you pass. You have the advantage of a flying start. You run
the 'Vette hard up through the gears and blast across the
starting line & pass the dragster at an honest 200 MPH. The
'tree' goes green for both of you at that moment. The dragster
launches & starts after you. You keep your foot down hard, but
you hear an incredibly brutal whine that sears your eardrums &
within 3 seconds the dragster catches & passes you. He beats
you to the finish line, a quarter-mile away from where you
just passed him. Think about it - from a standing start, the
dragster had spotted you 200 MPH & not only caught, but nearly
blasted you off the road when he passed you within a mere 1320
foot long race!