Maybe a 1,800hp Lupo dragster isn’t the best idea...

Is it worth trading power for driveability?

1y ago

Santa Pod is probably the best-known dragstrip in the UK as it welcomes all sorts of weird and wonderful creations looking to squeeze the most out of the quarter-mile sprint.

In fact, if ridiculously modified cars are your thing, then I would advise you to visit the oldest drag racing venue in Europe. One of the most notable cars to have a go on the quarter-mile run of tarmac is a heavily modified VW Lupo that looks more like the Batmobile than a small hatchback.

Under the extended wheelbase and slick tyre surface, Frankenstein’s Lupo is powered by not one, but two Golf R engines giving a total of 1,800hp. That power is sent through two separate DSG gearboxes to separate axle. Therefore, they have a Ferrari FF-esc all-wheel drive system with even more complexity due to the two different powertrains.

The crew that runs this car have previously been able to set a quarter-mile time of 8.79 seconds in Romania with a slightly less powerful version of the car. However, when trying to improve that time at Santa Pod with an additional 600hp, the car wasn’t compliant enough to go under the nine second mark.

This is proof that, sometimes, power isn’t the solution for a higher speed, even when going in a straight line. The crazy amount of power is pulling the car to one side because of our old friend, torque steer. In the first run, this nearly causes a nasty crash as the car suddenly veers off into the other lane.

Despite seeing this, I’m sure people will continue on their pursuit of ridiculous amounts of power. In my opinion, DOP Motorsport, the car owners, should focus on the car’s suspension setup and alignment which might be able to contain some of the power and keep the car on a straight course.

This is an extreme case of what we see in the tuning world everyday. In fact, many car enthusiasts often look to boost their power figures without thinking about their car's drivability. Is it really worth having such huge amounts of power if it comes to the detriment to the car's handling?

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Comments (35)

  • Please spell 'esc' as in Ferrari-esc. Like this: Esque. I know it's not important but I'm a pedant lol. Good article though. A bit of fun.

      1 year ago
  • I think that the main problem is the fact that it has one engine per axle, basically having diferent power outputs in the front and rear that are always variating and end up upseting the car regardless of how well synchronized the engines are, and well, it also has almost enough torquesteer to pull me out of my bed on a saturday morning at 6 am, but there are other dragsters way more powerful within the modified street car class that do not have the same problem, perhaps they have reached the aerodynamic limit of their current desing, I'm sure they will figure out a solution and they will return with even more power as it should always be.

      1 year ago
  • I advice: just get a jet if you want power

      1 year ago
  • Electric cars will bring the times down. Just enough battery to get down the track, and regen charge to make it back to the pits. Not a fan of electric cars, but if just a one trick pony show, that would be my path

      1 year ago
    • Definitely, nothing can beat the right electric Car. So much instantly HP its insanely ridiculous. But with time to come in the future only can improve

        1 year ago
    • Electric race cars are not allowed to run at santa pod (completely standard ones are) due to safety issues in the event of a crash/fire.

        1 year ago
  • Power is nothing unless the car is capable of handling it. The twin engine setup is the problem with this car, it upsets the cars ability to get down the track SAFELY and quickly. The drivers reaction time is very slow, to say the least. A good drag race is won at the tree, not the finish line. That said, it is kinda fun to see this kinda thing done

      1 year ago