Rocket car

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Opel RAK.2 rocket car

A rocket car is a land rocket vehicle powered by a rocket engine. A rocket dragster is a rocket car used for competing in drag racing, and this type holds the unofficial world record for the 1/4 mile.

Rocket cars are capable of very high speeds, and at one time held the land speed record (now held by a jet car). Rocket cars differ from jet-powered cars in that they carry both fuel and oxidizer on board, eliminating the need for an air inlet and compressor which add weight and increase drag. Rocket cars run their engines for relatively short periods of time, usually less than 20 seconds, but the acceleration levels that rocket cars can reach due to their high thrust-to-weight ratio are very high and high speeds are fairly easily achieved.

Sammy Miller in 1984 at Santa Pod Raceway recorded the quickest quarter mile elapsed time of 3.58 seconds at 386.26 mph using a hydrogen peroxide powered engine.The record was witnessed by 10,000 spectators and officials in attendance. This is in excess of the performance of more familiar piston engined dragsters.[1]

A different type of rocket propulsion uses hybrid rockets with nitrous oxide as the oxidant such as the British rocket dragster, 'Laffin-Gas'.[2]

In America, rocket dragsters fell into disuse after their hydrogen peroxide propellant became too expensive and they are banned in most events for safety reasons, mostly due to their very high performance. However, they continue to run at several European venues.

History[edit]

Notable rocket cars[edit]

Opel Rak.6 rocket car

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