Skip to main content

A Drag Racing Breakdown, Class by Class

  • Author:
  • Updated date:
2005 European Top Fuel Champion Lex Joon.

2005 European Top Fuel Champion Lex Joon.

The Major Drag Racing Classes

Here's a breakdown of the major classes shown at drag racing events and how each class is defined:

FIA Top Fuel

The most identifiable of all the dragsters, the top fuelers are the quickest and have the fastest acceleration of all the racers in the world. They are powered by a nitro-burning, supercharged V8 engine and are capable of running the quarter mile in 4 seconds at speeds of over 300 mph, thanks to their 7000–8000 bhp. They can also set off car alarms in a 5-mile radius, and their fire-up fumes act as tear gas!

FIA Top Methanol

Very similar in appearance to the top fuelers but methanol is burned instead of nitromethane. Average speeds reach over 260 mph, and they can run the quarter mile in 5.4 seconds.

FIA Top Methanol Funny Car

These also burn methanol as fuel, but have a replica car body on a short wheelbase. Capable of running 5.6 at 250 mph and over. So-called because the Americans said they looked 'funny' when they were first introduced.

FIA Pro Stock

Powered by a 500ci motor and resembling showroom cars, but with 'exotically modified' motors, heads, manifolds and chassis. Capable of running at six seconds at speeds of around 200 mph, burning racing gasoline.

FIA Pro Modified

Also known as 'Doorslammers,' these are full-bodied cars, usually American muscle cars, and use a nitro-injected motor. Produce long, smoky burnouts and speeds of 220 mph and over. Average time index 6.1 seconds.

Funny Car

Similar to the top fuel funnies, these carry a replica body on a shorter chassis. Carry a 500ci nitro-burning motor and produce speeds of 300 mph and above. Index time from 5.1 seconds.

Competition Eliminator

A series of handicapped races designed to whittle down the vast amount of vehicles entering the class. No breakout, first over the finish line wins.

Super Comp

A mixture of high-performers from fuel-altered, dragsters and full-bodied vehicles, running to an 8.90 index.

Super Gas

Made up mostly of full-bodied stock looking cars running to a 9.900 index. Any faster means disqualification.

Super Street

Restricted to full-bodied cars only, running to a 10.90 index.

Super Pro ET

Comprised mostly of dragsters with a few quicker, full-bodied cars. Indexes range from 6.30 to 8.99 seconds.

Pro ET

A mixture of full-bodied vehicles and dragsters running to indexes between 9 and 11 seconds.

Sportsman ET

Similar to the other ET classes but on an index of 12 seconds.

Junior Dragster

The junior classes run for entrants aged between 8 and 16. Juniors run over the eighth mile, and average high seven-second passes with speeds of around 80 mph. Doesn't sound fast, until you realise it could be an eight-year-old driving it.

Lorenz Stauble from Switzerland on his Top Fuel bike at Santa Pod.

Lorenz Stauble from Switzerland on his Top Fuel bike at Santa Pod.

Bike Classes

UEM Top Fuel Bike

Mix of Top Fuel, Funny and Pro Mod bikes running times in the low 6s at speeds of well over 200 mph.

UEM Super Twin

Nitro-burning, twin cylinder engines mainly based on the Harley Davidson. Average runs are 6 seconds at over 200 mph.

UEM Pro Stock

Single engine, resembling road bikes but with high-tech racing parts and chassis. Running times in the low to mid 7s at speeds in excess of 170 mph.

This article is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge. Content is for informational or entertainment purposes only and does not substitute for personal counsel or professional advice in business, financial, legal, or technical matters.