Since the early 60’s jet dragsters and jet-powered funny cars have operated under the NHRA sanctioning body as an exhibition class. Unlike the earlier steam or rocket-powered cars, they have proven to be more safe and reliable while still delivering high-speed thrills and excitement.
Early innovators who shared the passion of jet racing worked out of their garages designing the first jet dragsters around a J-46 Westinghouse Turbo-Jet engine taken from the F 7U-3 Cutlass USN carrier planes. Aircraft engines are naturally lightweight with a high horsepower potential, and drag car designers knew that this was the secret to speed: the more horsepower and less weight, the faster you go. Jet cars of this era were heavy and cumbersome, yet they still had potential to reach top speeds of 240 to 400+ mph.
The NHRA currently restricts the Jet Dragster Exhibition class to 320 mph.