Motor Sports Association

Drag Racing

Drag racing is perhaps the fastest, loudest and most spectacular motorsport of all, pitting two cars and drivers against each other to see which can cover a quarter of a mile from a standing start in the quickest time.

The discipline is most popular in its American homeland but there is a thriving scene here in the UK and the rest of Europe too. Most recognisable are the incredible Top Fuel and Nitro Funny Cars, which shake the ground en route to top speeds of over 300mph, which they reach in under five seconds from rest. Top Fuel, though, is just the tip of the iceberg.

How does Drag Racing work?

Two vehicles, ranging from standard road cars to Top Fuel monsters depending on the class, line up side-by-side on an arrow-straight strip of asphalt. When the lights go out they accelerate away to the finish a quarter of a mile away.

Depending on the specific event, the aim is either to reach the finish line as quickly as possible or to come as close as you can to the time that you predict you will run, without going quicker than it.

Generally events use a knock-out format, with the winner of each round progressing to the next until the winner is declared.

How do I get started?

First, get a feel for the sport by watching some events at the UK’s main drag venues: Santa Pod Raceway and Shakespeare Raceway.

Take the opportunity to have a quick chat with some of the competitors during less busy moments; they will be able to answer any questions you may have and offer some advice.

A popular staring point is ‘Run What Ya Brung’ events, in which you can race your road car. This is also a great way to meet other racers and gain the knowledge and experience you’ll need if you want to race specialist drag racing machinery at a higher level. Bear in mind though that Run What Ya Brung is not sanctioned by the MSA.

If you want to compete in MSA Drag Racing you will need to join a drag racing club and take out a Non-Race National B Competition Licence, then get yourself a car…

What kind of car do I need?

If you just want to do Run What Ya Brung you will only need a road car. Above that are more than two dozen classes for modified road cars and bespoke drag racers, all of which much comply with the relevant MSA regulations if they are taking part in national events. These classes are determined by factors such as engine size, modifications and fuel type.

You can either modify a road car or you can buy a ready-prepared car, although it will be up to you to make sure that it meets the regulations.

What equipment do I need?

What you need depends on the event or championship you’ll be competing in, but abobe Run What Ya Brung you will need MSA-compliant safety kit such as a helmet, race suit, gloves and boots.

Remember that it is the competitor's responsibility to ensure that their vehicle and equipment comply with both the MSA's General Regulations (detailed in the MSA Competitors' and Officials' Yearbook) and the Supplementary Regulations (SRs) of the event or championship.

If you have any questions about vehicles or equipment you can speak to a member of the MSA Technical Department by calling 01753 765 000.