NHRA Funny Car drag racing is intense, and it's not a discipline you just stumble into. It requires a lot of experience to pilot an 11,000-horsepower missile down a quarter-mile strip. It's almost laughable, then, to see a teensy drag car like this mini Toyota Supra that's meant to help youngsters get ready for the big leagues. It's the result of a smart collaboration between Toyota, NHRA, Half Scale, and three-time Top Fuel champion Antron Brown that'll kickstart a new category in the Junior Drag Racing League.
It looks tiny next to the full-size Supra NHRA car, and that's because it is. The miniature machine's wheelbase means it's short enough to ride in the bed of a Toyota Tundra, which makes transport a lot simpler for parents. This is on purpose.
“The Jr. Dragster class has really been a pivotal piece of NHRA since its inception,” Brown said. “My kids have raced them and several of my competitors got their start racing them or have kids or family members of their own competing. The addition of the Jr. Roadster class is important for so many reasons, but the primary objective for all of us that have been involved in its development was to give families an option that doesn’t require a trailer or additional costs to bring the car to the track and these will give them that opportunity.”
Toyota told me there's no spec engine for the JDRL Supra, but Half Scale offers a catalog of options. No matter which you pick, it'll be mounted behind the driver. That's different from the Funny Car, but rest assured the little guy learns a lot of lessons from its big brother. There's still a hoop above the cockpit for rollover protection as well as a wheelie bar out back. The design is obviously similar, save for the Funny Car's zoomie headers that pop out the side and its wings that square off the rear flanks.
There's no exact timeline for when this car will compete as the Jr. Roadster category is still taking shape. Toyota does plan on it actually going racing, though, so you can bet it'll be ready when the Christmas tree lights up.
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