After Thursday’s rabble-rousing post, and Friday’s rather thoughtful piece, a bit of light relief for the weekend.
I’m not a big fan of most sports, as I think I may have pointed out in the past. But I do like motorsport. Not F1 particularly. I like my competition cars to have doors. I love the extreme hooligan end of motor racing. Thundersaloons, bangers, truck racing, NASCAR. Thuggery on wheels.
Nothing is more automotively thuggish than drag racing. Who on earth wants to be the quickest over a straight line quarter mile? Pointless. Yes it is, and that’s one reason I love it so much.
One of the other reasons is that it’s still refreshingly lo-tech. An F1 car is basically a motorised computer. A dragster is much more brute force and ignorance. Get a whopping great engine, whack a supercharger on it, stick it in a frame that weighs about the same as a motorbike, and slam the pedal to the metal. Sophisticated it isn’t. But it’s fun. The top guys can do 0 to 100 in under a second. To do this they withstand about 8½ g. This is more than astronauts have to tolerate on blastoff. It’s not that surprising, since they’re playing with about 8000 bhp. A reasonable family saloon in the UK cranks out about 110 bhp. There’s a sobering thought.
The 60s were the heydays for drag racing tomfoolery. Some racers dabbled with using two engines, not just one. But the video below is a classic. Four engines, four wheel drive, so all four tyres get their fags out on takeoff. Just how stupid is that? Extremely. But what a laugh, eh?
Oh yes, by the way. A normal car engine, viewed from the front, turns clockwise. With four engines coupled up like this, the two on the left have to turn anticlockwise. Everything on those two engines has to be set up to run the wrong way. You just have to admire the lunatic genius who came up with that idea.