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How a supercharger helps a Top Fuel dragster create more than 10,000 horsepower

26 Nov 2019
Posted by NHRA.com staff
Feature
Bruno Massel

NHRA on FOX reporter Bruno Massel took a visit to Top Fuel racer Clay Millican's pit to check out the supercharger that sits atop his nitro-burning machine during the Auto Club NHRA Finals in Pomona. Check out what he found out about the device that helps Top Fuel dragsters create an excess of 10,000 horsepower while traversing the 1,000-foot dragstrip. 

A nitro engine is capable of putting out over 10,000 horsepower in large part to this bad boy sitting right here. It's a supercharger that sits up on top of the engine. In its simplest form, think of it as an air compressor taking air from the injector hat, spooling it up and shoving it inside the engine as compressed air. So, the more are that can be put in an engine means the more fuel you're able to burn in an internal combustion engine.

The more fuel you burn, the more power you make. It's really that simple the way this whole thing works. It's driven off of the crankshaft down there. You see there's a pulley tied to this belt, it spins that pulley right here and spins the rotors inside the supercharger. We've got one taken apart over here so we can show you what happens.

This top pulley here can be adjusted to change the speed of the supercharger. The smaller the pulley on top of the supercharger, the faster it will go, the more air it'll force in, and essentially, the more power it'll make. We talked about boost; that is the amount of pressure being forced inside of an engine. So air is going through here getting forced into that engine making a lot of horsepower.

I know you're thinking: Well, I'm a guy at home, I've got my grocery getter, I can take one of these DMP superchargers, throw it on top of the car and make thousands of horsepower. It doesn't quite work that way because to spin this blower, you need about 800 to 1000 horsepower just to get it going. So it takes power to make power these; and these cars make a lot of it