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Top Fuel Dragster: Impressive Stats & Figures

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7500 horsepower is an approximate maximum output of a competitive 2005 top fuel engine at its peak. That equates to almost 1000 horsepower per cylinder, thats an impressive stat.

Modern top-fuel dragsters can generate up to 12,000 horsepower.

top fuel dragster power output

Speeds of 335 miles per hour (539 kilometres per hour) were achieved by the fastest competitors, who completed the 1,000 foot (305 metre) run in 3.62 seconds.

It takes a top fuel dragster as low as 0.8 seconds to accelerate from a standstill to 100 miles per hour (160 km/h).

This is less than one-third of the time it takes a standard Porsche 911 Turbo to accelerate from a standstill to 60 miles per hour (100 km/h).

It has the ability to reach speeds of 297 mph (478 km/h) in only 660 feet (200 m).

top fuel dragster top speed and acceleration

The driver is subjected to an average acceleration of about 4.0 g (39 m/s²) throughout the course of the race, with a peak acceleration of more than 5.6 g (55 m/s²) on the last lap.

Because of the high speeds, this class only runs over a distance of 1,000 feet (305 metres), rather than the usual 1/4 of a mile, or 1,320 metres (400 m)

top fuel race distance and g force

When a dragster is operating at maximum throttle and RPM, the exhaust gases exiting from the exhaust generate about 800-1,100 pounds force of downforce.

The large wing above and behind the back wheels generates much greater force, reaching a peak of about 12,000 pounds-force when the vehicle achieves a speed of approximately 330 mph (530 km/h).

Further Reading: Do Exhaust Pipes Provide Thrust? (Explained)

top fuel drag car downforce

At maximum speed, the engine of a top fuel dragster produces about 150 db of sound, which is loud enough to inflict bodily discomfort and even lasting damage.

Observing a top fuel dragster make a pass has been compared to ‘feeling as if the whole drag strip is being bombarded’, according to many who have experienced it.

Before a race, race announcers would typically tell spectators to cover or block their ears to protect their hearing.

At the entry to a top fuel concert, fans are often given ear plugs and sometimes earmuffs to protect their ears from the noise.

Note: Always wear ear protection when around race tracks, especially top fuel.

top fuel dragster sound

Dragsters are only allowed to have a wheelbase of 300 inches or less (760 cm).

The engine displacement is limited to 500 cubic inches (8,190 cm3 or just over 8 litres) by the competition regulations.

A bore of 4.1875 inches (106 mm) and a stroke of 4.5 inches (114 mm) are standard bore and stroke specifications.

The compression ratio is about 6.5:1, which is typical on engines with overdriven Roots-type superchargers.

All of the aluminium components, including the block and heads, are CNC-milled from solid billets, and the oil sump is made of titanium.

top fuel dragster engine specs

45.5 psi is the maximum amount of boost generated by the supercharger when the throttle is opened wide.

That’s more than 3.0 bar of boost, which is around twice the amount of boost pressure achieved by a Mitsubishi Evo VIII.

top fuel drag car boost pressure

Each engine has 16 spark plugs. 88 amps are produced by the dual MSD magnetos. Only 12 more amps are required to power a MIG welder.

At full power, the fuel system can pump 77 gallons per minute. During warmup, burnout, staging, and the quarter-mile run, the engine will need 22.75 gallons of fuel.

A 55-gallon barrel of nitromethane fuel costs approximately $900-1800 or £650-1300.

Current rules allow for a maximum of 85% nitromethane in the fuel mix. The remainder is alcohol.

top fuel dragster fuel

The engine inside of a top fuel dragster only lasts one run down the drag strip.

Dragsters are an engineering marvel which destroys themselves while racing. In fact, the clutch welds itself together while it’s racing.

  • Andy Lewin

    Andy Lewin is a senior mechanic, ASE qualified master technician, and an experienced automotive engineer.He's passionate about serving the automotive community with the highest-quality and trustworthy information on all things automotive. He loves to write about car repairs, maintenance, car modifications and tuning, faults, and much more.

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