Saturday, March 20, 2010

Yas Marina Drag Centre - best drag night since Danny La Rue!

Last night we went to the Yas Marina Drag Centre for the inaugural Abu Dhabi Drag Festival. Caz and I went with Caz's aunt and uncle (Doreen & Steve) over from the UK. I had never been to a drag event before (well not involving motors anyway - ah hem!), but I have to say it was awesome. The raw power of the cars is amazing and fills all of your senses - the smell of the rubber and fuel, the sight of the flames and the wicked speed of the vehicles, feeling the heat of the flames and the rumble of the whole area under you as the cars roar away, and the sound so loud you really do have to wear ear plugs!. Well exciting.

The event builds up through different categories of vehicles; bikes, cars - some which don't look too different from the modified cars you see racing up and down Southend sea front at the weekends! Then you get to the serious stuff, first what they call the "funny" cars - I'm not quite sure why, but I don't think it is because they are supposed to make you laugh! They are basically hugely modified muscle cars with nitrous oxide injection systems.

Then we came to the main event - the "Top Fuelers". These things are truly amazing. The video below gives you an idea and some of their stats............ 0-100 mph in 0.8 secs, hitting 310mph !!

The drag centre and the two top fuel cars have been designed in partnership with Don Schumacher Racing - Don Schumacher (or "The Shoe") being a legend of the sport in the USA. Below is a news story about the partnership. Don's son Tony is himself now 7 times champion of the sport and is sponsored by the US Army.

We left the event after the second run of the top fuelers, just before 9pm. We had booked dinner at the Noodle Box restaurant at the Yas Hotel - which I have to say was excellent, Kung Pao Chicken, yummy! After dinner we went up to the Skylite bar under the coloured roof of the Yas Hotel. From this location you could still see most of the drag strip, although it was at least half a mile away. As we knew the top fuel cars were due to go off again around 11pm, Steve and I were standing at the side watching. I got talking to a couple of American guys stood next to me and it only turned out to be - one Mr Don Schumacher! He joked that this was race control for the night! He was being fed all the stats to his iPhone from the strip. He was very chatty and friendly and shared with us some insights from "behind the scenes". He said that he was trying to persuade the "powers that be" that they should end the F1 days with top fuel drag racing afterwards. Now that would make an awesome way to round off the day!

I have some video clips I took on my phone below (sorry for low quality). When you see the top fuel cars you will notice that as they reach a way down the strip some fireworks go off. Where we were watching from the bar, we didn't hear the initial roar until long after they were through the fireworks. Was cool to see.

Here's an album of my photos from the night........

Yas Drag Festival


  1. Dammit luck a veteran of many Top Fuel Drag Race venues back home I am a complete fan. Alas, I had to work this weekend and was teased with the engine noise when I stepped outside for a break.

    I have seen "The Shue" race as well as "Big Daddy" Don Garlits and Mr. Prudhomme.

    You more feel top fuelers than hear them, it vibrates in ones chest!

    Last I saw in the US, these guys were doing 5 second 1/4 mile runs!

  2. I will definitely be back for the next meet!