Hydrogen Peroxide Drag Racers: Clean, Mean Rocket Machines

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Drag racing is probably one of the most wasteful-yet-exciting forms of motorsports around. For those three and a half seconds, Top Fuel cars can go as fast as 300 mph and burn 5-6 gallons of high-octane fuel in 1/4 mile, the equivalent of using 20 gallons per mile [ed. note: not if they’re electric drag racers!].

But not all drag racing with liquid fuels is so wasteful. The videos below show a hydrogen peroxide-powered drag bike rocketing off the start line. After seeing it, I did just a little digging and uncovered a whole lot more to hydrogen peroxide power than I ever imagined.

In the videos (of the same event), a drag bike with a hydrogen peroxide rocket engine blasts down the strip. It’s driven by a Frenchman named Eric Taboul, who just this year smashed a 1/4 mile world record at a different event, completing it in just 5.48 seconds at 233 mph. However, at the event shown in the videos below, held about a week later, Taboul apparently broke even that record by running the 1/4 mile in 5.27 second at 251 mph.

Needless to say, that’s pretty damn cool, so it got me wondering if anyone else had tried the hydrogen peroxide method.

Turns out yes, more than one person has chosen this path to propulsion. In fact, in 1977 a deaf woman named Kitty O’ Neil set the standing quarter-mile record to top speed in a hydrogen peroxide drag car. As part of the Space Age Racing Team, Kitty ran the 1320 (as in 1,320 feet) in 3.22 seconds at 412 MPH. Talk about progressive! Ridiculous speed with harmless emissions of water vapor and oxygen.

Kitty actually held and broke several records and was well known on the circuit, and there was even an Emmy-nominated TV movie made about her called “Silent Victory.” The car was designed by Ky Michaelson, and the records didn’t exactly fall within the parameters of the NHRA or FIA, but are nonetheless impressive.

Now this car isn’t exactly in the same class as Top Fuel Dragsters which use V8 engines. Still, I would love to see more of this kind of racing, especially since the fuel is cleaner and cheaper and produces even more spectacular results. To create the explosive reaction, the fuel-grade H2O2 is run over platinum or silver which causes a chemical reaction, propelling the car down the track at break neck speed. We need more cars like this!

Source: The Rocketman

 

Christopher DeMorro

A writer and gearhead who loves all things automotive, from hybrids to HEMIs, can be found wrenching or writing- or else, he's running, because he's one of those crazy people who gets enjoyment from running insane distances.