FAQ

Frequently Asked Questions

WHAT IS A STREET LEGAL DRAG RACE?
A STREET LEGAL drag race is a quarter-mile acceleration contest from a standing start between two street legal vehicles racing side by side in a straight line at a specifically designed drag race facility also known as a dragstrip. These contests are started by means of an electronic device called a Christmas Tree.” Upon leaving the starting line, each contestant activates a timer that is, in turn, stopped when the same vehicle reaches the finish line. A racing event is made up of a series of individual two-car races called eliminations. In most drag racing categories, the first vehicle to the finish line wins.

In the standard racing format the losing car and driver of each two-car race is removed from the contest, and winners advance to race other winners until only one winner remain.

WHAT CAN I EXPECT AT THE RACES?
When you visit the races, you’ll see much more than the action on the track. Because in the ESLA Championship every ticket is a pit pass, you’ll be able to watch racers and crews up close at work, meet them, and get their autographs. You’ll also be able to participate in interactive displays and drive-along, see between-rounds entertainment such as stunt shows and high-speed video highlights on the Jumbo screens.

WHAT ABOUT KIDS?
Drag racing is a family event and we love to see families have a great time together.
With various entertainment, our carnival and a great kids playground, they will surely be have a great time. At the racers there will be various Jr drag racers running their cars or bikes, and the visiting kids will be able to meet and communicate with this young sport boys en girls.
We always make sure our visiting kids (possible future racers ;) have a great experience.

WHAT IS A DRIVE-ALONG?
Visitors of our events will get the unique opportunity to step into a racecar and drive along in an exhibition-race as a passenger and experience street legal up close and personal (safety equipment available on location).

HOW CAN I GET TO DRIVE ALONG?
Visitors can purchase drive along tickets on the ticket page at the ESLA website or at an event. When visiting the event there will be a drive-along booth where a ticket owner can register with their purchased ticket. Further instructions and time-schedule available at the booth.

WHAT IS A STREET LEGAL CAR?
Street legal or road legal refers to a vehicle such as an automobile, motorcycle, or light truck that is equipped and licensed for use on public roads, being therefore roadworthy. This will require specific configurations of lighting, signal lights, and safety equipment. Many of these racecars will drive to the track, race them, and then drive safely back home.

WHAT DO I NEED TO WEAR TO PARTICIPATE IN A RACE?

  • Long sleeve
  • Long pants
  • Closed shoes
  • Qualified helmet

WHAT IS A SAFETY INSPECTION?
Every vehicle must pass our safety inspection prior to being allowed to participate in any ESLA event. Inspected is:

  • Seatbelts
  • Battery
  • Seats
  • Tires
  • Windows
  • Oil & Gas leakage

WHAT TYPE OF RACE DOES ESLA APPLY?
ESLA offers two types of Street Legal Races: heads-up and dial-in (E.T.) racing.

WHAT IS HEADS UP?
Both cars leave the starting line at the same time, and the first to cross the finish line wins. 

WHAT IS E.T. RACING OR DIAL-IN RACING?
By far the most popular form of drag racing is a handicapped form of competition known as E.T. bracket racing. In this form of racing, two vehicles of varying performance potentials can race on a potentially even (fair) basis. The anticipated elapsed times for each vehicle are compared, and the slower car receives a head start equal to the difference of the two. With this system, virtually any two vehicles can be paired in a competitive race. The object of the game is to predict how many seconds it will take your car to get to the finish line, then try to run as close to that number as possible without going quicker, or “breaking out.” The driver who finishes the closest to their dialed in number, is the winner of that race.

WHAT DOES (E.T.) STAND FOR?
ELAPSED TIME = The time it takes a drag-race vehicle to travel from the starting line to the finish line.

WHAT IS A DRAGSTRIP?
A dragstrip is a straight, purpose-built racetrack, typically an eighth, or a quarter of a mile long (660/1,000/1320 feet, 201/304.8/402 metres), with an average width for each of 30 feet.  Most dragstrips allow between a half- and three- quarter-mile shutdown area after crossing the finish line, to allow the cars to slow after a run and exit the dragstrip. Common features also include a ‘water box’ where vehicles start their burnouts to clean and heat up their tires to improve traction. There is a set of lights known as a ‘Christmas Tree’ that counts down to the start. There are also return lanes for the vehicles to return from the end of the track to the pit-area.

WHAT IS A PIT-AREA?
In Drag Racing a pit-area (separate parking or repair area) is where racing vehicles stops for refuelling, new tires, repairs, mechanical adjustments, a driver change, or any combination of the above.

WHAT IS A PIT-LANE OR PIT-ROAD?
When its time to race, racers line up in the pit-lane to prepare for the race. Drag race circuits feature a pit lane with a pit wall (or pit gate), which safely separates the pit lane from the racetrack and visitors.

WHAT IS A BREAKOUT?
Used only in handicap racing, “breakout” refers to a racecar running quicker than the dialed-in time that the driver has predicted. The driver’s dial-in time is posted on the racecar. Should a racer go quicker than his or her predetermined dial-in, it is called a breakout and that driver loses the race. If both racers make runs under their dial-ins, the win goes to the racer who breaks out the least. Unless his or her opponent has committed a more serious foul, such as starting on a red light or crossing the centerline of the drag-strip.

HOW IS THE RACE MEASURED?
Several measurements are taken for each race: reaction time, elapsed time, and speed. Reaction time is the period from the green light illuminating to the vehicle leaving the starting line. Elapsed time is the period from the vehicle leaving the starting line to crossing the finish line. Speed is measured through a speed trap covering the final 66 feet (20 m) to the finish line, indicating average speed of the vehicle during the run last 66 feet.

WHAT IS A BURNOUT?
Drivers perform a burnout before making a run down the dragstrip. They begin behind the starting line by driving through the water box, then spinning the rear tires in water to heat and clean them before a run for better traction.

WHAT IS A FULL TREE?
Used in Competition for which a handicap starting system is used to equalize competition. The three amber bulbs on the Christmas Tree flash consecutively five-tenths of a second apart, followed five-tenths later by the green starting light.

WHAT IS A PRO TREE?
Pro tree is when the three amber lights flash simultaneously, followed 0.4 seconds later by the green light.

WHAT IS REACTION TIME?
The time it takes a driver to react to the green starting light on the Christmas Tree, measured in thousandths of a second. A perfect reaction time is .000.

WHAT IS PRE STAGE INDICATOR LICHTS?
Yellow bulbs warn drivers that they are approaching the startling line and the “staged” position.

WHAT IS STAGE INDICATOR LICHTS?
Stage indicator lichts signals drivers that they are on the starting line ready for a pass. These yellow bulbs come on when the front wheels of a car or motorcycle interrupt the beam from a light source to the photocells. These same photocells start the timing equipment.

WHAT IS THREE-AMBER STARTING SYSTEM?
All three amber floodlights in a driver’s lane flash simultaneously before the green light comes on. This is called a “Pro start” system. Racers running in the Street legal or handicap categories get a countdown of one amber light at a time until the green light comes on. The Pro start system runs with a .4-second difference between amber and green lights, while the Street legal and handicap system runs with a .5-second difference between bulbs.

WHAT DOES GREEN LICHT STAND FOR?
Once the green light is on, the driver in that lane can start its pass. Any time a green light is shown in a driver’s lane it indicates that a legal/ good start was accomplished.

WHAT DOES THE RED LICHT STAND FOR?
This happens when the racer reacts to the Christmas Tree too quickly and leaves the starting line before the green light comes on, or, in some cases, is staged too deeply into the staging beams, the red light will flash in that lane. It indicates the driver in that lane has been lost that race. During competition, only one red light will illuminate, thus eliminating only the first offender.

WHAT IS A METHANOL?
Pure methyl alcohol used as fuel in Top Alcohol Dragsters, Top Alcohol Funny Cars, and even some Jr. Dragsters.

WHAT IS A NITROMETHANE? (“NITRO”)
Made specifically as a fuel for drag racing, it is the result of a chemical reaction between nitric acid and propane. Top Fuel dragsters and Funny Cars use nitro-methane.

WHAT IS A NITROUS OXIDE? (“NITROUS”OR “N2O”)
When injected into an engine under pressure, nitrous oxide gives the engine a sudden boost in power by introducing more oxygen into the fuel mixture. Nitrous oxide is not allowed in any NHRA category except Pro Mod (exhibition) and some E.T. bracket classes.

WHAT IS A TOP-FUEL DRAGSTER?
(NOT LEGAL TO PARTICIPATE AT ESLA EVENTS)
The fastest-accelerating vehicles in the world, these are the most recognizable of all drag race cars. The 25-foot-long landlocked missiles can cover the quarter-mile in 4.4 seconds at speeds faster than 335 mph. The engine of choice is an aluminum version of the famous Chrysler Hemi. The supercharged, fuel-injected nitromethane-burning engines produce an estimated 7,000 horsepower.

WHAT IS PRO STOCK
(NOT LEGAL TO PARTICIPATE AT ESLA EVENTS)
Pro Stock cars look a lot like street cars, but looks can be deceiving. Extensive modifications to the cylinder heads, manifold, chassis, and suspension thrust them to 6.6-second elapsed times at more than 205 mph.

WHAT IS A PRO STOCK MOTORCYCLE
(NOT LEGAL TO PARTICIPATE AT ESLA EVENTS)
Producing more than 300 horsepower, these highly modified motorcycles can cover the quarter-mile in less than 7.0 seconds at more than 195 mph. The chromoly steel chassis is cloaked in a lightweight, aerodynamically enhanced replica of the original motorcycle body, and the carbureted gasoline engine may be a Harley V-twin, a two-valve, or a four-valve.

WHERE CAN I RACE?
ESLA is working with various member tracks across Europe. For more information about an  Street Legal program in your area, contact the ESLA organisation at contact@esla-events.com. Or visit our site for updates regarding participating tracks.

A Day at the Drags
Come Early and Be Prepared.
The ESLA Series tour passes through 9 countries of Europe, bringing its excitement to millions each year. The events are spectacles of speed & engineering, show & shine, various competitions, entertainment, meet and greet, drive along and major prizes.

Though all the tracks measures the same 1,320 feet (402 meter), still each location is different. Here is what to expect when you head out for a weekend at the street legals.

IN GENERAL
Unlike a typical three-hour football game or two-hour concert, ESLA drag racing is an all-day affair. The best advice for fans might well be the same advice given to the teams you’re coming to watch: Come early, stay late, and be prepared.

As you would for any other major event, plan ahead and we recommends that fans buy their tickets in advance, online at www.esla-events.com, or through Ticketpartners throughout Europe. When buying ahead you won’t have to stand in long lines to purchase your entry tickets at the track.

What to bring on a sunny day: a hat, sunglasses, earplugs, and a blanket (to sit on or bundle up with during the awesome spectacle of night qualifying).

What to bring on a sunny day: an umbrella, earplugs, plastic bag (to sit on and stay dry).

Okay, you’ve got your tickets and your car is loaded with the essentials – now what? People visiting a Race-day can be anywhere between 2,500 and 40,000, so it’s a good idea not to be late. Believe it or not, the parking lots are full of latecomers streaming toward the main gate even as the first round gets under way. If you miss the first round, you’ve missed half the show.

At the end of the day, don’t be the first one to rush to the gates the instant the last car runs. When everyone else heads for the parking lot, it’s a great chance to hit the pits, where the teams are relaxing after a long day and is more open to talk freely to the visitors.

IN THE STANDS

Everyone knows that the race day determines who wins and who loses, but if you attend only the final day, you’ll miss the spectacle and variety of qualifying. At most events, Friday evening and Saturday afford two qualifying shots, and the Friday night session transforms street-legal racing into something you don’t want to miss.

Qualifying is your chance to see all of the cars run, not just the quickest 16. You’ll get to see some of the local cars that run only once or twice a year and are rarely quick enough to make the show. Saturday, you’ll witness the high drama of final qualifying, where drivers have a last chance to fight their way into or are bumped from the field.

Track and weather conditions can change from session to session and affect performance, so to get a better idea of how the players rate, compare runs made within a single session, not across sessions.

When eliminations begin, try for a little diversity. Watch the Sportsman competition, where the racing is often close and wins and losses are not always decided by horsepower but by driver reflexes and downtrack strategy. If you’re new to breakout racing, listen to the announcers. They often go into great detail to explain how and why a driver won or lost a race.

Try watching the races from different spots in the stands. Seeing a race unfold from a finish-line vantage point is a world apart from watching it from the starting line. The difference in the sights and sounds will amaze you.

IN THE PITS

Drag racing is unique among motorsports because fans have direct access to the teams, watching from as close as five or 10 feet as the highly skilled mechanics “twirl the iron.”

Hot tip: Some of the most frantic action takes place in the first 30 minutes after a car returns to the pits. If you want a front-row seat to watch the teams at their best, head for the pits a little early.

If you want to get a real feel for the power of a fuel-burning engine, hang out until a team test its engine, before it expects to run. (For race or show times, see your event schedule.) You’ll get a genuine thrill whenever the driver steps on the throttle.

Every dragstrip and every drag race is different. Take the time to look around the track layout, talk to other fans who have attended the race before, and listen to the buzz in the pits. You may well discover your own secrets for taking in an ESLA International event.