Drag racing is supposed to be a contest of speed in a straight line, but corralling gobs of horsepower isn't always easy. You might think we’re talking about opposite-lock control here, and if the subject were a Mustang leaving Cars and Coffee, you’d be right. But when the car in question has 4,000 horsepower, massive drag tires, two gigantic turbos, and no wheelie bars, one needs to consider the Y-axis very carefully.
The folks at Alepa Racing are used to wheel stands from their C7 Corvette, which accelerates to 200 miles per hour in about four seconds. A few days ago, however, the ‘Vette took flight with driver Daniel Pharris behind the wheel, achieving escape velocity from a 200-mph wheelie and sailing a couple hundred feet before landing back on its wheels. Amazingly, Pharris stepped out of the car moments after coming to rest without injury.
The unscheduled launch took place in Oklahoma at Tulsa Raceway Park during the Radial Revenge Tour last Saturday. Pharris was in the semi-finals of the 1/8-mile competition when the nose pointed skyward near the end of the run. Aerodynamics then took over, ripping the front clip off the car and depositing it in the opposite lane where Pharris' competition had already slowed due to a less-dramatic wheelie from the starting line. Interestingly, the timing lights for Pharris still showed a 4.6-second 1/8-mile run, with a speed of 226.9 mph.
The car didn’t appear to be too damaged, all things considered. Granted the interior camera showed a hellacious impact on landing, but typicially such drag racing aerobatics leave nothing but twisted piles of tubing and errant tires rolling down the track. On the Pharris Motorsports Facebook page, the team confirmed that the driver was okay and that the Corvette wasn't a total loss, saying it “would be down for a while” undergoing repairs.
Let’s hope version 2.0 includes control surfaces for sustained flight, or at the very least, something to make changing underwear a bit easier.