The UK-based YouTube channel Carwow has made a name for itself over the past few years with its drag races. Presenter Mat Watson and his team manage to wrangle some intriguing matchups that always involve at least one car and frequently also involve motorcycles.
For today’s matchup, we have the 2012 Formula One world championship-winning Red Bull RB8 car, originally driven to victory by none other than Sebastian Vettel. He’s not taking part in this drag race, though. That duty falls to Scuderia AlphaTauri driver Liam Lawson for this race. We also have the 2022 Red Bull KTM RC16 MotoGP bike, ridden once again by Dani Pedrosa.
Finally, we have a Porsche 911 Turbo S (991 generation), tuned by the folks at ES Motor. After a visit to the shop, the engine has gone from a 3.8-litre unit to a 4.2-litre unit, and it’s capable of outputting a claimed 1,400 bhp at the wheels. However, since it’s a bit damp out, Watson says it’s been dialled back to 1,200 bhp for today’s exercise. While he’ll be using launch control, the traction control is deactivated.
It’s also worth noting that the Porsche is the only vehicle in this drag race that is turbo charged. Both the RB8 F1 car and the RC16 MotoGP bike are naturally aspirated machines. Here’s a breakdown of the comparative horsepower and weight figures for each of the three vehicles taking part in this race.
|Porsche 911 Turbo S tuned by ES Motor
|1,400 bhp (limited to 1,200 for this race due to rain)
|1,700 kilograms (about 3,748 pounds)
|2012 Red Bull RB8 Formula One Car
|700 kg (about 1,543 pounds)
|2022 Red Bull KTM RC16 MotoGP bike
|157 kg (about 346 pounds)
As you may also have noted, while Watson is an enthusiastic presenter and has certainly improved his drag racing experience over the course of this series because he’s driving every time, he’s also racing against two professionals in their respective racing disciplines. How will it all work out?
Carwow usually structures its drag race challenges with a best-out-of-three format. The first race is from a standing start. The second race is from a rolling start after reaching 50 mph. Finally, the final challenge is a braking challenge from 100 miles per hour. The good news is that all three vehicles do at least a nine second quarter mile.
Now, you probably have an idea about what happens—and you may even be right, but we’re not going to spoil it for you. One thing we will say is that some of the results are closer than you might be expecting.
It's true that the Porsche 911 Turbo S may take a bit of extra time to spool up its turbos, and that it may be the only thing on the airstrip that’s not a purpose-built racer, and that it may weigh a whole lot more than either of the vehicles it’s competing against. However, the combination of engine build and driver aids makes for a pretty interesting matchup.