Science Drag Racing

Drag racing is one of the most widely used methods of measuring performance in wheeled vehicles.  Varying in length from a quarter mile to two miles, drag races take place on flat straight runways and tracks.  To perform well in a drag race, a car has to be able to get off the line quickly, shift quickly, have gearing that is suited to the length of the race, and have power to pull hard from the start to max speed.  It is fascinating how a small difference in the spec sheet can lead to a big difference on the track.

This video shows a riveting race between two of the fastest cars with the world, the McLaren P1 and the Porsche 918 Spyder, and one of the fastest superbikes, the Ducati 1199 Superleggera.  This drag race is special because it shows how four wheel drive differs from rear wheel drive and how cars differ from bikes.

Off the line the Porsche with it's four wheel drive has the advantage, jumping into the lead.  The sky high power to weight ratio of the bike helps the Ducati take the lead once the front wheel gets planted to the pavement and the driver can accelerate without worrying about flipping over backwards.  The P1 takes the lead when the bike runs into it's rev limiter at 191 mph and out guns the Porsche with sheer amount of power and less aerodynamic drag.

Drag racing can seem boring, it's a straight track after all, but if you think about what goes into it, drag racing is incredibly captivating.