How Global Rallycross cars hit 60 mph in 1.9 seconds

Our friend Jason Fenske from Engineering Explained recently attended a Red Bull Global Rallycross race, and, of course, he found a way to explain things using an equation.

Jason specifically honed in on the incredible acceleration of these cars. All of the cars are powered by 2.0-liter turbocharged engines, and their restrictor plates are limited to 45 mm. With race car tuning, they are able to make 600 horsepower and 650 pound-feet of torque. All-wheel drive is standard, and that lets these cars put the power down to the tune of 1.9-second 0 to 60 mph runs.

CHECK OUT: The beginner’s guide to World Rallycross

That’s where Jason’s formula comes into play. Jason crunched the numbers and figured that these cars subject their drivers to 1.4 gs of acceleration, or longitudinal, force. How did he get there? You’ll have to watch the video to find out.

But what physics are at work to achieve such violent acceleration? We’ve already mentioned the power and torque numbers, as well as the all-wheel drive, but these cars also have absurd power-to-weight ratios, limited-slip differentials that send the power to the tires with traction, and unique B.F.Goodrich tires that provide tremendous grip.

There’s one more element to those incredible 0 to 60 mph times: the driver. For an explanation of the launch procedure, Jason speaks to none other than Tanner Foust. Want to know how Foust launches his car? Again, watch the video. It can’t hurt, and you’ll probably learn something.


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