Drag Racing, Class by Class
Lex Joon, the 2005 European Top Fuel Champion
Car Classes at Drag Racing Events
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 300mph, 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 burn methanol instead of nitromethane. Average speeds over 260mph, and can run the quarter mile in 5.4 seconds.
FIA Top Methanol Funny Car. Also burn methanol as fuel, but have a replica car body on a short wheelbase. Capable of running 5.6 at 250mph 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 resemble showroom cars, but with 'exotically modified' motors, heads, manifolds and chassis. Capable of running at 6 seconds at speeds of around 200mph, 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 220mph 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 300mph 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. Comprising 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 12.00 seconds.
Junior Dragster. The junior classes run for entrants aged between 8 and 16. Juniors run over the eighth mile, and average high 7-second passes with speeds of around 80 mph. Doesn't sound fast, until you realise it could be an 8-year old driving it...
Lorenz Stauble from Switzerland on his Top Fuel bike at Santa Pod
UEM Top Fuel Bike. Mix of Top Fuel, Funny and Pro Mod bikes running times in the low 6's at speeds of well over 200mph.
UEM Super Twin. Nitro burning, twin cylinder engines mainly based on the Harley Davidson. Average runs are 6 seconds at over 200mph.
UEM Pro Stock. Single engine, resembling road bikes but with high-tech racing parts and chassis. Running times in the low to mid 7's at speeds in excess of 170mph.