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


Here's a picture of DSR teammate Ron Capps's Funny Car in action.  With a different weight distribution (the engine, in this case, is in front of the driver), notice how much rear wing is needed, and how little downforce up front by comparison.  One could argue the Funny Cars are safer, but that engine (and all the explosive nitro) is still right in front of the driver.  Because of this, some Funny Car drivers even take the precaution of wearing a protective boot over their already fire-resistant racing shoes.


I got this close-up shot of Antron going up against his DSR teammate, Tony Schumacher.  Look at the intensity in his eyes (I had to add the drama).  Actually, the reason behind this picture is to show you that both DSR cars here use an enclosed canopy, which is new this year.  So far they're one of the only ones doing it, and I think they look cool.

The enclosed canopies were developed by Aerodyne, originally for drag race boats. With 3/8in thick windshields, they can provide potentially life-saving protection over the open cockpit norm.  A lot can happen at 300 MPH, including the freak rivet that comes off a car in front and hits a driver in the helmet, let alone everything that can go wrong at speed if the car gets turned upside down.

DSR is currently working with Aerodyne to get more drivers to use these windshields, since safety is priority number one. 

While some teams opt out of using the canopy unit in favor of the weight savings, who knows—maybe in addition to the added safety there could also be an aerodynamic advantage, as seen by this Gurney-like lip on the back of the canopy.


Here is the most common mechanism for reining in the charging horses.  By pulling these two levers on the left side of the driver, both parachutes are deployed, and a chest-crushing negative 7 G's is experienced.



You'll notice that after a car does a burn-out, it is able to slow down.  That's because it is equipped with 4-piston rear calipers with carbon rotors and pads, which was a surprise to me.


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