Have you ever wondered how drag cars can go from 0-113mph in one second, just 75-feet from the start line? It's not a trick, it's sheer power out of an all aluminum V8 engine that devours 1.3 gallons of nitro-methane per second once the race starts.
It's definitely amazing thinking about the power that's made in these 2000lb race cars. Now sure, this V8 isn't something you'd find in a street legal passenger vehicle, but it sure does share some similarities. The biggest difference is the used of forced induction- that's a way of forcing air into an engine to make more power, with the use of either a turbo charger or a super charger. Super charges are used in drag vehicles, because until turbo chargers, they are belt driven, and can provide instant on power. These are superchargers you won't see on any street-legal car. Just operating the supercharger takes 600hp of engine power away.
The rest of the engine is similar- although in a drag car, parts are much power expensive, much stronger, and bigger. Drag vehicles generally have more than one spark plug per cylinder, which are toast by the end of a pass. Valve springs, connecting rods, and pistons are all parts replaced after each individual run. The engine lasts one run and is rebuilt for each pass. The cost of replacement parts is thousands of dollars.
For more on these amazing machines, we turn it over to Car and Driver for an impressive video on how they work. Check the video below, or visit the GasBuddy blog to see it.