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Flugplatzblasen Aalen / Elchingen: Swabian drag race action

Achim Hartmann
Airfield bubbles Aalen /Elchingen
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T rock ice wafts over the pre-start, an American V8 pounds hit the eardrum at full speed, with burnout the tire rubber dissolves in acrid smoke, men with stoic expressions and headphones on their ears give hand signals. Tuned compact cars duel with large-capacity muscle cars. And the Christmas tree flashes. Where are we here?

On a sports airfield near Aalen. This is where the quarter mile scene meets for an infight. The acceleration is celebrated. Airfield bubbles in Elchingen, always straight ahead, just full throttle. The external conditions: rather bad, fog, six degrees, damp track. 'The grip sucks,' says Benz driver Tom Zellner in the finest Lower Bavarian dialect. Nevertheless, the line of vehicles is now really long. '220 participants have registered, 190 are there. That is 30 more than last year. But there we had sun and over 20 degrees,' says the astonishing organizer Oliver Harsch, who has been organizing the airfield blowing for 13 years. After all, over 4,000 spectators come to the event on the Ostalb. In 2014 there were just under 7,000. Well, the weather.

Flat-rate heating for 50 euros

The thickly wrapped viewers can't really choose between Red Bull (cool, but too cold) and coffee (uncool but warms) decide. French fries barrier with mulled wine always works. Fabi, with his clique from the Munich area, traveled in a BMW 3 series: 'Awesome here! You can get really close to the cart for just ten euros!' Girlfriend Jessi: 'Super exciting, they really go crazy! Next year Fabi wants to drive with his GTI!' For an entry fee of 50 euros, everyone can step on the gas as often as they want - or as the technology goes along with it. There are no regulations, whether with or without street approval, it doesn't matter. The only requirement is that the driver must wear a helmet and seat belt.

Achim Hartmann
190 participants come to the full throttle event. The starting field: Colorful mix.

The variety on the 402.34 meter long quartermile is enormous: 4, 5, 6, 8 or 10 Cylinders, aspirators, turbos, supercharged engines. Old sheet metal, Japanese sports cars, youngtimers, new premium sports cars, everything is roaring, whistling and crackling in every nook and cranny. A good 30 starters give horsepower figures of over 800. Enough reasons for a lot of adrenaline, whether for drivers or spectators: A Kadett D is currently ironing a 325i E36, and clearly.

Hot-Rod versus super athlete

The duel Tesla Model S versus BMW M4 is clearly in favor of the silent revolutionary. A VW Beetle has to bow to a Ferrari 458 - but not when it comes to the sound, as the tuned boxer clearly roars the V8 down. Now a Ford Five Window Coupé from 1934 thunders for the pre-start. The paint is off, rust adorns the body. 'Look, the scrap bin,' the father said, waving to his son, ignorant that owner Josef Pfanzelt is squeezing 750 hp from the exposed supercharged V8. The runway in Elchingen is usually reserved for Cessnas and microlight aircraft, but the air sports club rents its airfield once a year. The timing team, which also has the starting lights in their luggage, comes from far-off Holland. 'It's called the Christmas tree in the scene', grins organizer Oliver Harsch.

The PS fans come from all over Germany, from Austria, Switzerland, and Liechtenstein. Last year's winner Boba Kettler also made his way from Paderborn to the Eastern Alb with his Golf 1 by trailer. Last year he burned an 8.50 on the runway. Course record, 1,300 euros in prize money. 'I can't do that today, too wet,' said Kettler, who didn't even start his 1,150 hp turbo Golf. But a look under the hood is permitted. Oops, the two-liter 16V four-cylinder is installed lengthways. 'I converted to Quattro technology, the 4Motion all-wheel drive was exhausted.'

Over 1,000 hp in the VW Golf

So he watches the competition, for example Daniel Kakoschke. Its Golf 2 develops 1,085 hp. 'The basis is a 2.9-liter VR6, the two-valve engine with 190 hp from the Golf 3,' smiles the 29-year-old from Leverkusen, who completely dismantled the former 98 hp Golf Syncro. More than 1,000 hp means: Turbocharger from racing with 2.7 bar boost pressure. Bearings, internals, oil pumps, cooling, everything reinforced. The all-wheel drive comes from the Golf 4, i.e. 4Motion with Haldex instead of Syncro and viscous coupling. The gear? 'A sequential dogbox racing gearbox with four gears costs 6,000 euros,' Kakoschke continues. On his best run he managed 9.451 seconds.

Achim Hartmann
The Gölfe as contenders for victory: no wonder with a power to weight ratio of around 1 .0 kg per PS.

The next favorite is warming up in the start box: Markus Hegna is sitting in the Golf 4, a helper fills the intercooler with dry ice. The Swabian calls 1,129 hp. Shortly before the start there was a real burnout because of the tires. The pre-launch has something of a rocket launch base - here, where raw forces prevail and the term explosion engine takes on a whole new meaning. Green traffic light, the VR6 thunders and bangs, the acceleration is unearthly. At the finish line, the speedometer reads 260 km /h. 'That was a 9,051, not bad!' Said the golf driver happily about his third attempt and the fastest time of the day. Especially since Markus Hegna broke the engine mount twice after the first starts. 'A farmer near here welded them to us!'

Self-made bimotor small car blows the BMW M6

But it doesn't have to be four-digit horsepower numbers to have fun. Michael Hädicke's Fiat Cinquecento develops 280 hp. Visually, the small bimotor car is, well, suboptimal. But there are two turbocharged Punto four-cylinder engines under the hood. 'I've never been on the test bench, but every engine should have 140 hp. I last washed the Fiat 13 years ago, since the conversion to a racing car, 10,000 kilometers have come together.' Semislicks should now be installed, but the wheel bolts are too long. Nobody has a Flex in their luggage, so hit the bolts with a hacksaw on the collar. The strenuous effort is worth it: The little Italian stays in the lead against a BMW M6 that is almost twice as strong. Thanks to all-wheel drive, grip and flyweight.

Ten meters further, Tom Zellner checks his tail fin. The dry bass from the exhaust is suspicious, this is not a 190cc carburettor engine. 'Chevy Small Block, 6.7 liters, 500 hp,' said the Bavarian. He worked on the gray Benz for three years, investing around 1,400 hours and quite a few euros. 'The fin is a 63, like me,' laughs Zellner, who has been an enthusiastic drag racer for over ten years. In the paddock, fans can get close to the cars. How many PS? How expensive? What time? There was no fear of contact, neither among the participants nor among the spectators. There are only barriers along the route.

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