Nerd’s Eye View — Inside 10,000 horsepower! (Part 2)


I happened to find a picture I took 5 years ago of one of Antron's teammates, 7-time season champion Tony Schumacher, as he crossed the finish line.  I wasn't kidding when I said the tires deform at speed.   These cars are pushing the boundaries of physics.  Also, notice the heat coming off of the headers in straight-up fashion (and all around).  That's some serious exhaust force to compete with the 300-plus MPH wind!

FACT #15: A 0-60 MPH in 3.0-seconds by today's standard is “supercar” status for any street car, and two of the very few rear-wheel drive production cars that can just about do this are the Ferrari 458 Italia and McLaren MP4-12C.  By contrast, in 3.0 seconds a Top Fuel dragster will hit 280 MPH, and right at the 660 foot mark (at which point the clutch is finally getting engaged for full power delivery to the wheels). 

While the tires and weight distribution play intricate roles for off-the-line grip, the aerodynamics start to play their part at speeds over 100mph (or 3/4-of a second into the race). 

Here's a look at the carbon fiber front wing, which puts weight over the front tires so that the driver can steer.  It's adjustable to suit the different ambient conditions.

Fact #16: At speed, the little wing up front will place as much as 2500 lb of downforce over the front end, which is probably why so much PSI is needed in the front tires.

A lip running the length of the car aids in aerodynamic stability.


The rear wing is fully adjustable and made of carbon fiber.  Because of the crushing downforce created at speeds over 300 MPH, the support beams are made of chromoly–the same stuff you see in roll cages.


Another close-up of the top of the wing.  Nevermind the rubber squares—the wing is lying on a rubber mat.  Apparently,  even pro teams don't want to scratch carbon fiber.


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