# 7 Cars That Could Win a Drag Race Against Gravity

## Thanks to gravity, an object in free fall accelerates at a rate of 32.2 feet per second squared. Lets take a look at which cars can beat gravity, and a few that come pretty darn close (and perhaps could win on their best day).

Thanks to gravity, an object in free fall accelerates at a rate of 32.2 feet per second squared. So an item dropped from the top of the Empire State Building will accelerate to about 22 mph in one second and continue gaining speed until it reaches terminal velocity—when the resistance from aerodynamic drag counteracts the gravitational effect. Recently, however, we've driven cars that feel so quick, we began to wonder if they could accelerate on flat ground quicker than if they'd been dropped from an airplane. Let's take a look at which cars can beat gravity, and a few that come pretty darn close (and perhaps could win on their best day). Unless we note otherwise, the times are tested figures from established outlets, and the figures are accurate at the time of posting.
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2011 Bugatti Veyron Super Sport
Price Tag: \$2,700,000
Horsepower: 1200
Weight: 4162 pounds
Power-to-Weight Ratio: 0.288 hp/lb
0–60 mph Time: 2.4 seconds

Just how fast is gravity in a drag race? Let's assume an object is dropped from a static position and our target speed is 60 mph. That 60 mph translates to 88 feet per second, and when we divide 88 fps by the acceleration of gravity (32 fps/sec), we find that a generic object falling toward Earth will reach 60 mph in a time of 2.73 seconds. To beat gravity, our cars must be faster than 2.73 seconds in a 0–60 mph sprint. (No, cars don't accelerate at a constant rate, but for this exercise we used 0–60 times because the data are readily available).

Very few automobiles on the market right now can meet this challenge—but very few production cars have ever been as quick as the Bugatti Veyron Super Sport. For 2011, Bugatti added 200 hp and lightened the curb weight, improving the car's 0–60 mph time by 0.2 seconds. All-wheel drive and massive tires harness enough power to make this expensive ride far quicker than gravity.
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2011 Ariel Atom V8
Price Tag: \$160,000
Horsepower: 500
Weight: 1212 pounds
Power-to-Weight Ratio: 0.41 hp/lb
0–60 mph Time: 2.5 seconds

Lighter is better—that's why the Ariel Atom V8 bests a falling apple. With a feather-light curb weight of just 1 212 pounds, this 500-hp, V8-powered, limited-edition Atom doesn't have much to move when the accelerator hits the floor—though, to be fair to the rest of the pack, the Atom is more overgrown go-kart than daily driver.
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2007 Caparo T1
Price Tag: \$480,000
Horsepower: 575
Weight: 1000 pounds
Power-to-Weight Ratio: 0.575 hp/lb
0–60 mph Time: 2.5 seconds

One of the most extreme vehicles ever dreamed up, the Caparo T1 is basically an F1 car for the road. Its stupendous power-to-weight ratio is twice that of a Bugatti Veyron. However, because of its rear-wheel drive and primitive traction-control systems, the T1 can't help but spin its tires out of the gate. So, despite its scorching, gravity-beating sprint times off the line, its strongest performance comes at considerably higher speeds than 0–60, when the intense downforces created by the car's F1 stylings help with traction.
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2011 Porsche 911 Turbo S
Price Tag: \$160,000
Horsepower: 530
Weight: 3550pounds
Power-to-Weight Ratio: 0.149 hp/lb
0–60 mph Time: 2.7 seconds

The latest Porsche 911 Turbo S undersells and overperforms—no surprise there. This top-of-the-line German rocket draws its power from a twin-turbocharged flat six-cylinder hanging out behind the rear axle. And thanks to an all-wheel-drive system and efficient launch-control system, the 911 Turbo can readily turn engine power into forward speed. A factory-quoted 0–60 mph time of 3.0 seconds is crushed in the real world, just scraping past gravity with a 2.7-second drag time.
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2011 SSC Ultimate Aero TT
Price Tag: \$740,000
Horsepower: 1287
Weight: 2750 pounds
Power-to-Weight Ratio: 0.468 hp/lb
0–60 mph Time: 2.78 seconds

An honorable mention goes to the Ultimate Aero TT from Shelby Supercars—its official posted 0–60 time is 2.78 seconds, just behind gravity's pace. However, if the air is cold and dense, the tires are hot and the position of the moon is just right, we'd like to think the Ultimate Aero TT (former holder of the title of world's fastest production car) might be able to pull off the win.
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Price Tag: \$379,700
Horsepower: 700
Weight: 3472 pounds
Power-to-Weight Ratio: 0.201 hp/lb
0–60 mph Time: less than 2.9 seconds (manufacturer-quoted)

Lamborghini has just unveiled its latest hypercar, the Aventador, which PM got to test-drive in May. With 700 horsepower from its 6.5-liter V12, all-wheel drive and a maniacally fast dual-clutch transmission, we have a sneaking suspicion that Lamborghini's sandbagging on its quoted 0–62 mph (0–100 kph) time of 2.9 seconds. Don't be surprised if this raging bull could win a race against gravity.
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2012 Nissan GT-R
Price Tag: \$89,000
Horsepower: 530
Weight: 3800 pounds
Power-to-Weight Ratio: 0.139 hp/lb
0–60 mph Time: 2.9 seconds

You have to admire the Nissan GT-R. In this group of six-figure bruisers, the \$89,000 starting price is a bargain, and it can nearly pull off the victory over gravity with a sophisticated twin-turbo V6 and all-wheel drive. Another 45 hp for 2012 dropped its 0–60 time to 2.9 seconds, and you better believe there are tuning houses out there that have already pumped up this car to best that figure—and maybe even gravity's mark of 2.73.
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