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.