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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 ever of 3.58 seconds at 386.26 mph using a hydrogen peroxide powered engine car called Vanishing Point.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.

Tesla Motors plans to produce a rocket-power-assisted production road car, as an option package. The "SpaceX" option package for the 2020s Tesla Roadster was announced in 2018. This optioned up Roadster package would add cold gas thrusters powered by compressed air to improve performance.[3][4][5]


Notable rocket carsEdit

Opel Rak.6 rocket car

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ "Drag Racing Story of the Day - The Rocketman Checks In: Ky Michaelson Lists All his Rocket Dragsters". Retrieved 2011-08-06.
  2. ^ "The Laffin Gas Project". Archived from the original on 2011-07-13. Retrieved 2011-08-06. Cite uses deprecated parameter |deadurl= (help)
  3. ^ Fred Lambert (10 June 2018). "Elon Musk is serious about adding thrusters to the new Tesla Roadster, the option will replace the back seats". electrek.
  4. ^ DAVID Z. MORRIS (10 June 2018). "Elon Musk Says Tesla's Next Roadster Will Feature Actual SpaceX Rocket Thrusters". Fortune Magazine.
  5. ^ ANDREW KROK (11 June 2018). "Elon Musk is 100 percent serious about Roadster thrusters". Roadshow. CNET.

External linksEdit