The FIA European Drag Racing Championship kicks off at England’s Santa Pod Raceway.
Thu 23.05.13, 5:05PM
For fans of pure unadulterated velocity, drag racing offers blistering speeds of over 300 miles per hour (500 kph) in the Top Fuel category. Custom-built cars power to over 100mph in around 0.8 seconds, thanks to their 8000bhp engines. But drag racing involves a lot more than just Top Fuel cars.
Britain’s Santa Pod Raceway will play host to the first round of the FIA European Drag Racing Championship featuring more than 200 teams split across 17 classes of cars and bikes. The 2013 season sees five FIA European Championships forming the overall FIA European Drag Racing Championship: Pro Modified Drivers’, Top Methanol Dragster Drivers’, Top Methanol Funny Car Drivers’, Pro Stock Drivers’, and Top Fuel Dragster Drivers’.
There are six rounds on the 2013 calendar; after Santa Pod the series moves on to Tierp, Sweden, before taking in Finland and Germany for rounds three and four. The season draws to a close with a second Tierp event in late August, before the Santa Pod finale on 5-8 September.
Santa Pod is currently the only drag track in the UK with international MSA status, although the 1960s saw drag racing take off across the United Kingdom as old airstrips were repurposed into quarter-mile strips.
Drag racing evolved from American hot-rods, souped-up cars designed to help smugglers evade the police during prohibition. When prohibition was repealed, hot-rodders kept their cars in trim and raced each other down Main Streets across the USA. The illegal street races soon evolved into a serious sport with dedicated strips, and drag racing was born.
In its simplest form, drag racing is a contest of acceleration between two vehicles over a fixed distance, usually a quarter mile. The speeds involved mean that the strips used for drag racing must be both straight and flat, which is why drag racing’s traditional home is in disused airfields with runways too short for modern aircraft.
The ones to watch in Santa Pod this weekend are Sweden’s Leif Andréasson, a four-time FIA drag champion, Santa Pod local Rob Turner, who is looking to repeat his 2011 Top Methanol Funny Car win in the Santa Pod season finale, and the Andersen Racing team, which has three FIA Top Fuel Dragster titles to its name.