HERE at Street Machine, we’re all about things with four wheels, but we can appreciate just about anything else that makes big horsepower and has an engine. Drag boat racing is something we’re pretty unfamiliar with, but we knew the top guys in the sport use Top Fuel-style engines, so while road-tripping across America to Hot Rod Drag Week with Mark Arblaster’s POR440 LS-powered Valiant, we stopped off for a look at some of the racing.
The Top Fuel Hydroplane boats are the quickest propeller-driven vehicles in the world. Limited to 500ci, the supercharged engines run on a combination of nitromethane and methanol to make up to 10,000hp. That’s enough grunt to propel these rocket ships to 450km/h in around four seconds – on water. In races they cover 875 feet in just over three seconds side-by-side.
It’s a serious sport, and the safety involved in these high-speed boat races is next-level. The cockpit of a Top Fuel Hydro boat is similar to that of a fighter jet, and the drivers have their own air supply in case of an accident. There are also divers on standby for every pass.
Like drag racing, there is also a lesser Pro Mod class, although they still run up to 170mph with a five-second ET. This is the most competitive class because the design of these boats allows the pilot to look over at where their competition is.