If Best Driver’s Car is the most exciting thing we do all year, then World’s Greatest Drag Race puts seven exclamation points at the end of that statement.
WGDR has been a staple of Motor Trend’s BDC online coverage since 2011—it’s a made-for-YouTube phenomenon. For the uninitiated, imagine a simple quarter-mile drag race complicated by the addition of more than just two competitors. How many more? Well, that’s what makes it World’s Greatest. In our inaugural running, we set 11 of the hottest sports cars alongside one another and launched them all down the 1,320 toward a checkered flag. Since then, we’ve never had fewer than nine competitors pull up to the start line and begin revving.
Prior to our airing of the original WGDR in 2011, we hadn’t heard of anyone drag racing this way, which might explain the popularity and host of imitators we’ve picked up over the years. As this is written, our previous six installments of WGDR total over 98 million views. There are dozens of copycat videos alongside ours, including several flattering fan recreations in video games such as Forza and Gran Turismo. It makes sense; even if you could round up a dozen of the hottest sports cars each year, where would you find a space both wide and long enough for all of the vehicles to go flat out for a quarter mile?
For the past six years, we’ve been lucky enough to have the use of a former Motor Trend test facility, the decommissioned Marine Corps Air Station El Toro in Irvine, California. But as that facility has slowly transformed into a mixed-use residential, retail, and community space, we’ve seen its once pristine runways get plowed up, parked on, or fall into windshield-chipping disrepair. We’ve needed a new venue for the past few years, and after a hard target search of public, private, and military airfields throughout California, our BDC production team, headed up by Luis Navarro, located an active U.S. Air Force base open to our crazy idea and willing to navigate the layers of Pentagon bureaucracy required to secure it.
Executive editor Mark Rechtin discusses the finer points of Vandenberg Air Force Base in his column, but all you need to know here is that its 3-mile runway is pristine, and its USAF stewards are hardworking and speed-friendly men and women who truly represent the best of America.
With this new venue, famous for launching traditional rockets one at a time, our seventh installment of WGDR is sure to blow past the mark of 100 million total views. We knew the Miata wouldn’t stand a chance, so to add a little intrigue we summoned the legendarily ludicrous Tesla Model S P100D to race in its place. Elon Musk is familiar with Vandenberg already; it’s been the launch pad for many a SpaceX rocket, and there’s a Supercharger on site.
Read more about 2017 Best Driver’s Car contenders:
- Ferrari 488 GTB
- Porsche 911 Turbo S
- Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 1LE
- Porsche 718 Cayman S
- Lexus LC 500
- Mercedes-AMG GT R
- Alfa Romeo Giulia Quadrifoglio
- Chevrolet Corvette Grand Sport
- Aston Martin DB11
- Nissan GT-R NISMO
- Mazda MX-5 Miata RF
- McLaren 570GT
- Tesla Model S P100D
Also published on Medium.