Tech Talk With Bruno Massel, How Does A Nitro Fuel Pump Work
I’m just going to go ahead and tell you up front: if you’re visiting this site and ...
I’m just going to go ahead and tell you up front: if you’re visiting this site and you’re at all concerned with fuel economy, you may have taken a wrong turn on your journey through cyberspace. We love cars, but when we’re looking at a ride, the only thing lower on our list of concerns that fuel economy is practicality. We just don’t care, we wanna go FAST.
Top Fuel dragsters and funny cars are the pinnacle of power, producing an estimated 11,000 horsepower and reaching speeds in excess of 330 MPH in just 1,000 feet. There are no more powerful or more rapidly-accelerating cars on the planet. The fact that these cars reach the speeds and power levels they do utilize a relatively small-displacement engine. Comparatively speaking, 500 cubic inches really isn’t a lot of displacement, but of course, when you cram several cubic yards of air into the engine each second and ignite the raucous nitromethane mix inside the hemispherical combustion chamber, the power produced is unfathomable.
One of the great challenges faced by top fuel teams is feeding one of these beasts. Despite the relatively small displacement, a modern top fuel engine burns up to fourteen gallons of fuel per 1,000-foot pass. Compare that, as our good friend and NHRA Tech guru Bruno Massel has in this #TechTalkTuesday post from NHRA, to the ZL1 Camaro, which gets around 14 miles to the gallon, and you’ll get an idea of just how much fuel these monsters require.
To give you a little perspective than many of us are familiar with, the gas pumps we use to fill our tanks are capped at 10 gallons per minute. This means that to fill the 21-gallon tank in a modern top fuel dragster, it would take just over 2 minutes of the pump working at maximum capacity. While most cars can drive close to a week on that, a top fuel dragster will burn that fuel in a matter of seconds each time down the drag strip.