The fastest, loudest and most spectacular motor sport
Drag racing is perhaps the fastest, loudest and most spectacular motor sport of all, pitting two cars and drivers against each other to see which can cover a quarter of a mile from a standing start in the quickest time.
The discipline is most popular in its American homeland but there is a thriving scene here in the UK and the rest of Europe too. Most recognisable are the incredible Top Fuel and Nitro Funny Cars, which shake the ground en route to top speeds of over 300mph, which they reach in under five seconds from rest. Top Fuel, though, is just the tip of the iceberg.
How does Drag Racing work?
Two vehicles, ranging from standard road cars to Top Fuel monsters depending on the class, line up side-by-side on an arrow-straight strip of asphalt. When the lights go out they accelerate away to the finish a quarter of a mile away.
Depending on the specific event, the aim is either to reach the finish line as quickly as possible or to come as close as you can to the time that you predict you will run, without going quicker than it.
Generally events use a knock-out format, with the winner of each round progressing to the next until the winner is declared.
How do I get started?
First, get a feel for the sport by watching some events at the UK’s only drag venue Santa Pod Raceway.
Take the opportunity to have a chat with some of the competitors during less busy moments; they will be able to answer any questions you may have and offer some advice.
What kind of car do I need?
There are more than two dozen classes for modified road cars and bespoke drag racers, all of which must comply with the relevant Motorsport UK regulations. These classes are determined by factors such as engine size, modifications and fuel type.
You can either modify a road car or you can buy a ready-prepared car, although it will be up to you to make sure that it meets the regulations.
What equipment do I need?
What you need depends on the event or championship you’ll be competing in, but you will need Motorsport UK-compliant safety kit such as a helmet, race suit, gloves and boots.
Where can I find technical regulations for Drag Racing?
General technical regulations are found in section S of the Motorsport UK Yearbook, although specific technical regulations for the various classes can be obtained from the organiser. Specific event or Championship regulations are found in Supplementary Regulations (SRs) also made available by the organiser.
What safety equipment needs to be fitted to my car?
It is possible to run a standard road-going production car. There are a large number of other classes catering for modified road and sports cars and bespoke drag race cars, all of which must comply with regulations specific to that class, which can be obtained through the organiser.
What personal protective equipment do I need to wear? can I find technical regulations for Drag Racing?
As a minimum for competitive drag racing you will be required to wear a helmet and flame resistant overalls to approved standards. Details can be obtained through the organiser.