The Science of Speed
Learning Opportunities of CO2 Racing Building a CO2-Powered Racecar Competition: Let's Race! Showroom
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Speed

How fast is your car going? Calculating the speed (average speed) of a racecar is pretty simple. The formula is:

Average Speed = Distance/Time


To plug in some numbers, our distance will be 65.625 feet (ft) (official distance) and our time will be 1.22 seconds (s) (a pretty fast race time).

65.625 ft/1.22 s = 53.79 ft/s

To convert your speed to miles per hour (mph) we have to know a few things. There are:
5280 feet in a mile
3600 seconds in an hour
Plug in those numbers and we can figure out the speed in mph.

53.79 ft/s x 3600 s/5280 ft = 36.68 mph

Our dragster is roughly 1/20th the size of a top-fuel dragster.
If it were full size, it would be going almost 734 mph! (20 x 36.68 mph)


For more speed calculations, check the Science of Speed curriculum section titled How Fast is Fast: The Mathematics of CO2 Speed


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Last Modified: 11/7/2003