RACING NEWS

This is why purpose-built drag racing cars need parachutes

This is why purpose-built drag racing cars need parachutes image

Jose Altoveros / Speed/NHRA | September 25, 2018 13:24

The video shows exactly why high-powered drag cars need parachutes

Cars fitted with parachutes are commonly seen during legally-sanctioned drag races abroad; sometimes even locally.

However, these devices aren't merely just for show. Often, these are used by cars capable of doing 8-second passes or reach a high top speed within the quarter mile. The cars need the parachute in order to slow it down after crossing the line. In fact in the U.S., the National Hot Rod Association (NHRA) requires chutes to be fitted if the cars are capable of doing passes faster than 241 km/h or 7.5 seconds to be able to compete legally.

But what if the parachute fails to deploy on these fast drag cars? Are the brakes enough? The video above shows exactly what happens if the parachutes fail.

Both cars seen in the video are fitted with parachutes. However, the red Chevelle SS encountered a parachute failure after crossing the line. Thankfully, there was a gravel trap along with a catch net at the end of the drag strip rather than a solid brick wall. This allowed the driver to easily walk away from the crash, which could have ended worse. While the driver did use the brakes, you can see in the video that they were not enough. In fact, you can even see the brakes glowing bright orange right before the crash.

Given the amount of modifications they have, it is no surprise that they can easily reach 241 km/h or more. In fact, the cars look more like custom tube chassis drag cars fitted with a body shell on top than a modified road car. That said, the brakes fitted are likely not enough to stop the car given its speed.