Sounds simple enough. Before it’s my turn, I hop in for a passenger ride with a chap mysteriously called ‘Dale Superstar’ to be a fly on the wall in a slightly larger and more powerful two-seat version of one of Foley’s dragsters.
First up is the so-called ‘burnout’ as you approach the line. Water is sprayed on the track and you slowly drive through to get the massive 32in slick rear tyres coated. Then you floor the throttle for two seconds, the tyres first spinning as if driving on ice before they start smoking. Just as they bite and get traction, you back off and approach the line.
What I feel next, as Mr Superstar reacts to the lights, is something best described using keys on the keyboard that aren’t between A and Z. Things like ‘&%£*!*’ and ‘!*&^^@’. What that roughly translates to is that it’s rather quick off the line.
The reason the tyres, now hot, can instantly grip is because the whole drag strip is coated in glue. The hot tyres melt the glue and make it sticky, so they grip. The car bites into the track and you can actually feel the torque pushing you forwards faster than your body and mind can comprehend.
My body catches up with me again back in the pits, then it’s my turn. Being strapped into a dragster is a more intimidating experience than in a regular racing car. There are high sides and no mirrors, so you’ve got no idea what’s going on around you with reduced peripheral vision.
I’m called forward to perform a large U-turn and approach the puddle to coat my tyres ahead of the burnout, edging it forward on the creep mode in the transmission. So by the time the tyres are wet and the burnout is about to start, I still haven’t touched the throttle. The first time will be full throttle in the burnout.
This goes surprisingly well. The wheels spin, of course, but the instant you feel them bite, instinct kicks in and you back off anyway. That brief bite is still enough to throw me back against the seat, though.
And so to the start line. I creep forward to trigger the start sequence, and when the third yellow light comes on, it’s time to floor it. Phwoar. Normally when you floor it in a road car, no matter how fast it is, you still feel like you are driving it. This is the first thing I’ve driven, on first impressions at least, that feels like it is driving me…