Autocar took an Ariel Atom V8, BMW HP4 superbike and X-Games gold medalist Liam Doren's Citroën DS3 rallycross ride to an airstrip for a drag race. Sadly for all the drivers and for us, the clouds took to the sky and poured more and more rain on the track before the big race.

It's still a fun theoretical battle. The 550-kilogram Ariel Atom brings a 3.3-liter V8 with 475 horsepower, 268 pound-feet of torque and a 748-hp-per-ton ratio. The engine-restricted, 1,300-kg DS3 Rallycross rocks a 2.0-liter four-cylinder set for the day to about 560 hp, 600 lb-ft and – because of its variable boost – anywhere from 454-577 hp-per-ton. The HP4, naturally, does the most with the least, its 169 kg hauling a 1.0-liter engine with 163 hp, 83 lb-ft and a screaming 757 hp-per-ton.

It's a shame the weather didn't allow the entrants to show all they could do, especially the two-wheel-drive Atom. Nevertheless, it does demonstrate how critical the amount of available traction is to get the most from high-performance machinery, and there's lots of launch-controlled action and a winner crowned in the video below.

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    • 1 Second Ago
      • 2 Years Ago
      Given the amount of effort made to make the Citreon light, Liam looks a bit hefty.
      Evan Patipa
      • 2 Years Ago
      Great drag race. Wish we could see it in the dry. I honestly dont think anything could beat the bike, but i think in the dry the atom might have been able to monster the rally cross car
        • 2 Years Ago
        @Evan Patipa
        The dry(ish) test results showed that the Atom would have been very close to the Rallycross in the quarter mile but carrying more speed.
      • 2 Years Ago
      Actually since it was wet all the time this whole video was basically a waste of time in determining anything.
      • 2 Years Ago
      Man, driving an atom in the rain seems like it would be terrible. On the other hand, driving an atom in good weather seems like it would be awesome. But the guy on the bike is doing wheelies, so I guess what do I know.
      • 2 Years Ago
      Yep. After a minute into the vid you can go do something else.
      • 2 Years Ago
      163 HP for the BMW HP4? Not sure where they dynoed that at, but over 180hp has been at the wheel. Can't comment on if the mapping was changed or not though on runs I have seen.
      • 2 Years Ago
      why spend this kind of money to do this but then continue when it rains? It ruins the results! They should have waited a day and done it right for all it's worth.
      • 2 Years Ago
      Now just imagine that Rally car was restricted..... What if it wasn't? It's pretty sweet knowing an EF3 turbocharger to make 500whp+ for an Evo only costs $1785..... I kinda wish they threw in a domestic race car just to show where everyone is with the state of technology.... Ain't our problem if it's raining and you only brought 2 wheel drive...... Race what you got.
      • 2 Years Ago
      In the UK a bit damp = piss pouring rain.
      • 2 Years Ago
      Why do car fanboys still attempt to drag race bikes, they lose every time.
        • 2 Years Ago
        What are you talking about? Liter sport bikes are faster than most cars in standard dry drag races. The HP4 has a faster quarter mile than the Veyron, for example. (Stock S1000rr can run in the 8's with the right conditions) Everyone knows bikes can't drag race in the wet. They already have the least amount of traction compared to cars, the wet makes them even worse. So making any generalization in the wet is useless. Everyone knows the bike would lose. Also, bikes lose out in longer drag races because of aerodynamic limits. That's why cars can catch up. But if you want to beat a 1000cc bike, you usually need to be running 600HP or more. (Average weight car)
      • 2 Years Ago
      I'm pretty sure that Ariel Atom v8 is a 3.0 liter, not 3.3...
      Andrew Kozik
      • 2 Years Ago
      Could be completely wrong but wouldn't the bike be ~ 1000hp/ton. 163hp per 169kg = 0.964hp/kg = 964.5 hp/tonne?
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