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Drag Racing at Willowbank Raceway – Winternationals Rev Head Madness!

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I was lucky enough to score a trip out to Willowbank Raceway in Ipswich, just west of Brisbane to check out some Drag Racing. Namely the Winternationals event which is pretty much a million horsepower worth of cars hurtling down a quarter mile of tarmac. The kind of event that Rev Heads love (that’s Aussie slang for someone who loves cars).

Willowbank Raceway Ipswich Queensland Australia

I’ve never been to ‘the drags’ before – because you know, it’s one of those things that are right there but you never seem to make it because it’s ‘right there’!

But I was very impressed with what I saw – just from an engineering and ear drum bursting perspective. There seem to be a gazillion categories of cars that enter the drags, and you can spend days at the track watching the cars outdo each other – and the clock.

Drag Racing

If you don’t know what the hell I’m talking about, here is a Drag Racing 101 description!

Drag Racing for Dummies!

So, what exactly is drag racing?

Drag racing is where you have two cars side by side, whose drivers then floor the accelerator as quickly as possible once the lights, known as a ‘Christmas Tree’, turn green to dump as much rubber on the track to complete a quarter mile (or 400 metres) in the quickest possible time. The fastest cars – the Top Fuelers, can often reach speeds of over 500 kilometres per hour – or 310 miles per hour.

What kind of cars do drag racing?

Top Fuel (the fastest category)
Modified bikes
Junior Dragster
Super Street
Super Sedan
Super Gas
Supercharged Outlaws
Super Stock
Pro Radial
Pro Extreme
Pro Bike
Pro Stock
Pro Slammer
Pro Alcohol
Pro Extreme
Top Sportsman
Top Bike
Extreme Bike
Competition Bike

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So there is the low attention span version. To get an idea of just how fast these metal beasts go, check out this video. That is, if you manage to spot my miraculous camera panning technique!

Yep that’s make your underpants brown fast! As you can see from the time below (just over 5 seconds for 400 metres, at 258 miles per hour!). I’m keen to have a go!

Quarter Mile Timing  - Fast Times

Now as a drag racing novice, I wouldn’t know what class of car a drag racer is even if it ran over me. But this class caught my attention – the Funny Car. They’re apparently called that because, well, they look funny and a bit weird.

Funny Cars

But there’s nothing weird about how fast they go, and how loud they are. Like so!

The only thing not funny about these cars is how much it costs to get one of them onto the track. About half a million dollars! And that’s not running costs either! So don’t complain about the price of petrol in your town!

Believe it or not, the drags are a family event. There’s food stalls there, as well as kids slippery slides, face painting, and other things to bond with the kids. And then you can just go back to track to watch more car racing!

Family Drag Racing - Crowd Watching

One thing I did wonder is what happens if a car runs out of brakes at the end of the quarter mile? Surely it must happen from time to time!


Well I went for a drive to the end of the track and found this. No worries, there’s a couple of nets to catch the odd stray fast car!

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Safety Nets Gravel Trap Drag Racing

Overall, I had a great time just checking out what goes on at the Drags. If you’ve been, you know what I’m talking about. If you haven’t, then take a pair of ear plugs and check them out for yourself. You’ll have lots of friends watching with you.

Drag Racing In Australia

Thanks to Ipswich City Council for sending me out there to experience some Drag Racing! See more at Discover Ipswich! Check out more at Weird Attractions in Queensland.

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