Story by Luiz Carlos Storck
The pioneering spirit of American drag racing carries with it the weight of its enormous influence on other countries. Although drag racing began when the second car in the world was manufactured, as suggested by Niahm Smith (Muscle Car UK), the organization of it as a sport, which happened with the creation of NHRA in 1951, is what initially propelled its growth worldwide. In Brazil, the sport had its first official race in 1958, on the main avenue of the city of Curitiba, with a distance of 3,280-feet (1 km).
However, it was only in the 1980s that drag racing began to get popular, and during this time, it had a significant North American influence: quarter-mile race distance, Pro Mod-style cars, and the very format of the competition.
It’s essential to consider that in emerging countries like Brazil, things often evolve in their own way, explaining the unique nuances of drag racing here—many four and six cylinder cars, a much smaller number of tracks, few teams with big sponsors, and an aftermarket parts market that initially relied heavily on imports.
In the 2000s, the Brazilian drag racing scene underwent a significant evolution with the advent of electronics in cars, a shift led by FuelTech, a Brazil-based manufacturer. The company developed a unique product when compared to what was seen in the U.S. and other countries, resulting in faster and more reliable cars. Several years later, FuelTech became the influencer in the international market, especially in the U.S. and it was used to set dozens of records and win hundreds of race events.
The expansion of the internet and social media allowed for much faster exchange of information, undoubtedly favoring this evolving scenario to a point where American influence seemed to have reached its peak. The traditional format of drag racing is seen worldwide, however there was a new type of racing emerging, often featuring street cars. This trend in 2015 exploded in popularity, a television phenomenon arrived in Brazil, and its influence and impact on the segment were unparalleled. Its name? Street Outlaws.
The outlaw spirit, with rankings, in a head-to-head format where anything goes without limits, captivated Brazilian enthusiasts. Shortly after the program aired, the first races…