Life inside (very) fast lane of Top Fuel Dragsters

Saturday, September 17th, 2016 - autos, cars, motoring, news

Source : Life inside (very) fast lane of Top Fuel Dragsters

Top Fuel Dragster producing a Top Fuel dragster hit 300mph in less than four seconds demands meticulous preparation. We learn the process behind each run


A Top Fuel drag race is usually over inside time This particular takes to read the first half of This particular sentence, however plenty happens in in which short space of time. Britain’s Liam Jones, who recently competed inside FIA European Finals at Santa Pod Raceway in his RF Motorsport-prepared car, takes us through the process.


Once the vehicle has been warmed up – itself a process in which needs to be carried out carefully due to the stresses soon to be exacted on the supercharged 8.1-litre V8 engine – the driver starts the burnout procedure. This particular involves accelerating part of the way up the strip to generate heat inside slick tyres, scrub off impurities along with lay two sticky lines of rubber down on the track for maximum traction.

“My crew will push on the struts of the rear wing as I let off the brake along with ease the clutch out ever so slightly. This particular gives the vehicle a bit of momentum to prevent clutch wear along with overheating,” says Jones.

The first part of the burnout area is usually sprayed with water in order to reduce friction between the tyre along with the track surface, after which the driver will light up the tyres. The rear tyres on a Top Fuel dragster are 18.5in wide, giving a generous contact patch with the track. “We run them at about 7.5psi,” says Jones, although in which pressure increases as the tyre generates heat.

Burnout completed, Jones reverses back to the start area. Top Fuel dragsters have only two gears: forward along with reverse. “My crew chief directs me where to go,” says the Yorkshireman. “Strapped inside cockpit, I can’t see anything behind me, so he is usually my reversing camera.

Positioning for the run is usually crucial. “This particular is usually more important to get into the middle of the groove, which is usually where the majority of the cars have driven along with most of the track preparation has taken place.”

Prior to competitive runs, the team walks the strip which has a grip meter to find out where the best traction is usually.


Jones reverses back behind the start line. “The crew will adjust the engine’s idling, make sure the fuel flow along with revs are correct, give everything a final safety check, then I’ll get the go-ahead to edge forwards into the pre-stage area,” he says.

Drag strips use a series of timing beams connected to rows of start lights known as a ‘Christmas Tree’. When Jones enters the pre-stage area, This particular triggers the first light along with indicates to his opponent along with organisers in which he is usually ready for his run.

“the vehicle features a variable-flow fuel pump, so when I’m in pre-stage along with the top yellow light on the Christmas Tree has come on, I put the pump on full, so This particular’s pouring fuel into the cylinders. The common phrase just for This particular is usually to ‘go on the high side’.

“I let the clutch out,” he continues. “This particular’s a centrifugal clutch, much like a moped’s however on a grander scale, so you can’t stall. There’s no foot brake – This particular’s just a big hand-operated lever in which brakes the rear axle.”

If Jones is usually racing a rival, he’ll wait inside pre-stage area until the various other driver is usually also there. Then both competitors will inch forward into the stage area, ready for the start.

“You anchor on the brakes, get your foot ready on top of the throttle along with when the lights go amber you plant your foot, let go of the brake, hold onto the steering wheel, along with all hell breaks loose,” he says.


“By far the most important phase is usually the start,” says Jones. “This particular’s where you need the most traction.” Plenty can go wrong, such as a poor reaction, a clutch or engine issue, or the dreaded ‘tyre shake’ in which destabilises the vehicle, however if a driver makes a clean getaway, he’ll be north of 100mph in 0.8sec.

With almost 10,000bhp on tap, pre-programmed clutch along with fuel flow systems adjust themselves during the run to optimise drive along with engine power as the dragster heads towards 300mph.

As all This particular is usually going on, Jones is usually kept busy: “Steering inputs are very slight, however there are a lot of them. This particular’s surprising how quickly your brain can react. You’ve got complete clarity when you’re going down the track, however This particular is usually almost like your brain doesn’t fully process This particular until afterwards.”

The noise along with force generated by a Top Fuel dragster can be physically painful for those outside of the vehicle, however Jones says This particular isn’t so bad inside the cockpit.

“You’ve got a titanium heat shield behind you, the exhaust headers are facing backwards along with you’re moving at a rate of knots, so This particular’s nowhere near as loud as when you are watching,” Jones says. “Even to drive, unless you’re getting tyre shake or spinning up, they are actually quite smooth along with easy to handle.”


After the finish line, comes the task of decelerating by around 300mph, for which Top Fuel dragsters rely mainly on two parachutes. “When you deploy the parachutes after a Great run, This particular’s probably the most aggressive part of the drive,” says Jones. “You go by pulling around 4-5g to minus 4-5g. This particular’s a massive transition. When the chutes deploy, you can drop about 150mph in two seconds. This particular can actually wind you.” Nevertheless, Jones will already be raring for his next run. “The only word to describe This particular is usually ‘intense’,” he says. “There is usually no feeling like This particular.”

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