Top Fuel Insanity

By Deane Barker on January 4, 2005

I’m posting this from the waiting lounge at my auto dealer where I’ve been paging through the latest Motor Trend. This month, they have a “By the numbers…” section on Top Fuel dragsters (you know, the long, narrow ones). Some insane statistics:

  • The average Top Fuel engine puts out 7,500 b.h.p. This is up from the 3,000 they were putting out 15 years ago when I was in high school and obsessed with this stuff.

  • A Top Fueler uses almost 23 gallons of gas for warm-up, burnout, and a single quarter-mile run. This is 85-percent nitromethane and 15-percent alcohol and costs about $18 a gallon.

  • It takes 900 b.h.p. just to turn the supercharger on top of the motor. It pushes 45.5 psi of boost. A Porsche 911 Turbo S does about half that.

  • Top Fuelers go from 0-60 in 0.84 seconds and cover the quarter mile in about 4.5 seconds.

  • Craziest stat of all: the exhaust gases shot upwards out of the headers create 800 lbs. of downforce at full acceleration.

Someone give me one. It looks like I’d only need about two seconds to meet God himself.

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  1. u kidding, if you were in a newer lingenfelter corvette, traveling at 200 mph, and as soon as u crossed the line time started the top fuel would beat you to the finish from a dead stop, in the 1/4 mile.

  2. the top fuel would beat you to the finish from a dead stop, in the 1/4 mile.

    Maybe, but it’d be close.

    200 m.p.h. is 1,056,000 feet per hour, or 295 feet per second. A quarter-mile is 1,320 feet, so you would travel the quarter mile in 4.48 seconds.

    Top fuel dragsters are quoted as completing the quarter mile in anywhere from 4.4 to 4.5 seconds.

    So, the dragster might win, might lose, depending on the day.

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