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8,000HP Top Fuel Engine

Among All Engines Of Drag Racing, The King Of The Hill Is The Supercharged And Nitromethane-Fueled Monster. So We Thought We'd Take An Inside Look At An . . .

By , Photography by Jon Asher

The Supercharger
Early Top Fuel engines all used the classic 6-71 GMC supercharger that has grown into the current 14-71. NHRA rules now limit virtually all aspects of the fuel superchargers, including the inlet and outlet dimensions. But that hasn't stopped racers from improving the breed. The latest iteration is the Gibson/Miller supercharger designed by aerodynamicist Tim Gibson and built by Bill Miller Engineering (BME). At 50 percent overdrive, Miller says the blower easily pushes 60 psi of boost pressure (that's four atmospheres), and at 12,450 rpm rotor speed, the Gibson/Miller supercharger is capable of 3,750 cfm. According to Miller, that's an air speed of "about 250" mph exiting the supercharger. Pushing this much air, you would think the blower would be plenty hot at the end of a 3-second pass, but with the 12 gallons per minute of fuel sprayed through just the hat nozzles, Miller says the blower is barely warm to the touch if you were to snuggle up next to it on the return lane. That's because the nitro works to pull the heat out of the air despite the immense power required to drive the blower. Miller estimates it takes between 900 and 1,000 crankshaft horsepower to drive one of his superchargers. Just let that last fact settle in for a moment.

Five Top Fuel Facts You Probably Didn't Know
• The noise from a blown nitro engine is due in part to the fact that you're hearing the tail end of the combustion process.
• A Top Fuel engine will consume more than 14 gallons of fuel over the entire time from start-up to the finish line.
• At peak power, each 62ci cylinder generates 1,000-plus horsepower, equaling 16 hp/ci.
• All 12 quarts of engine oil are changed after warming the engine due to fuel dilution that turns the oil a sickly mustard color.
• A Top Fuel driver would rate a Space Shuttle launch rather mild since he experiences in excess of 5 g's positive acceleration, while the Shuttle pulls a mere 3 g's.

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