The Front Engine Dragster

Written by Henry Young. Posted in Motorsport

The front engine dragster is a type of car purpose build for a type of motor racing in which vehicles compete to obtain the shortest time, while crossing a certain distance. They race two at a time and they try to be the first to pass a set of finish lines.

These days the front engine dragster is considered to be old fashioned and it is used only in nostalgia drag racing, which was created in 1980. However, some old racers decided to pull their slingshot type dragsters and their funny cars out of their garages to run them down the drag strip one more time.

That led to the renew of the racing culture of the 1960s and 1970s because nowadays there are many associations which organize nostalgia drag racing events. Among those who organize these events from coast to coast are the National Hot Rod Association and International Hot Rod Association. They are the biggest governing bodies that set rules and host events in the United States and Canada. These two motorsport bodies attract more than 80,000 drivers in their rosters, so they represent some of the largest sanctioning associations in the world.

A front engine dragster varies in length from 4,064-5,715 in wheelbase, and when they first appeared they were used in the highest class, Top Fuel which implied that the cars must run on a combination of 90% nitromethane and 10% methanol. The vehicles that participated at these races featured an exaggerated layout that resembled open wheel circuit competing cars.

The top fuel dragsters featured a bigger length, they were much narrow and they incorporated large tires on the back and small tires in the front. All these characteristics were meant to increase their straight-line and to maximize their speed. Therefore, top fuel dragsters are the fastest types of drag racers that achieved to reach speeds of 330 miles per hour, and to finish the 1000 foot runs in 3.7 seconds.

The front engine dragsters didn’t use any form of suspension, and that is why they inclined to become instable at high speeds, especially because they had a light weight, and they featured a poor tire technology and a wheelbase that wasn’t as long as it should. In order to improve traction, the drivers had to sit in a cockpit between the two rear tires angled backward. This type of design originated with Mickey Thompson in 1954, but it didn’t prove to be the best idea because many drivers suffered bad injuries when catastrophic failures occurred.

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