Drag Racing is a popular and legal sport – provided it is carried out on specially designed tracks for motorsport and not on public streets. The only venue in Sydney which has these facilities is the Western Sydney International Dragway at Eastern Creek, in Sydney’s outer western suburbs.
Drag racing is an acceleration sport in which the vehicles compete from a standing start and aim to cover a short, straight distance, such as a quarter-mile (440 metres), in the briefest time possible.
These sprints can be thrilling events to attend and appeal especially to a young male audience. The term ‘drag racing’ originates from the expression ‘the main drag’ and reflects its origins in street racing. However, drag racing vehicles have been specially modified for track conditions and achieve incredible speeds matched only by the roar of the engines. The cars are much lighter and have more powerful engines than is to be found in the standard form of the car.
To achieve the power required, cars will run superchargers or nitrous oxide. Some vehicles are in street classes and must be street legal. These are allowed to perform with grooved tyres. Those which are custom-built for drag racing may be turbocharged, supercharged. Or operating with nitrous oxide systems. A car with a 230 horsepower turbocharged engine can reach 60 mph (97 kph) in 5 seconds.
In addition, there are hundreds of different classes in drag racing, based on engine size, weight, body style and various modifications. The faster categories can have engines capable of over 6700 horsepower and can be spectacular to watch. The noise output normally increases to match. The engine revs (RPH) will increase along with the power. But beyond a certain point, power will taper off.
Drag Race Rules
Therefore the vehicles are rolled forward to be exactly on the starting line. When both vehicles are in position, the starter activates a bank of amber lights. The winner is determined by clocking each vehicle’s elapsed time. Disqualification may result if a vehicle starts too soon, or crosses the centre line. Also if the car touches a guard rail or wall, it fails the post-race inspection and other infringements.
As might be expected, the rapid acceleration is extremely hard on tyres and the car. This means it is not a cheap sport. Costs are necessary for repairs, tyres and modifications.
Head to Head Racing
The head to head racing which is now enjoyed in Sydney grew from the match racing. This was carried out on rural roads after World war II and in the early 50s. Mostly teenagers, they ‘souped-up’ their rebuilt cars and raced over a short distance of 1/4 mile. This was an easily measured straight stretch that did not overextend the car or the driver.
A major development took place in the 1950s. Promoters built legal strips for drag racing, such as the one at Castlereagh. This is not far from the present-day track at Eastern Creek.
Western Sydney International Dragway showcases a diversity of Drag Racing action over the quarter-mile. And handles events such as the National Series as well as Nostalgia Drag Racing action. WSID offers excellent facilities for spectators, competitors and corporate events.
More detailed information can be obtained from the website of the Australian National Drag Racing Association. https://www.andra.com.au/
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