Nitro Bug - the world’s only nostalgia NHRA legal Beetle Nitro Funny Car

Posted on February 29 2024

Nitro Bug - the world’s only nostalgia NHRA legal Beetle Nitro Funny Car

Cool Flo sponsored Nitro Bug VW funny car

As the only outlaw nostalgia legal Beetle Nitro Funny Car in the world, the Cool Flo sponsored Nitro Bug is certainly unique.

It took Andy Raw and Karl Harrison over four years to build this funny car, in between crewing on the NUA top methanol dragster and Hawk Racing Team's big showtime ‘Gladiator’ nitro funny car.

Unsurprisingly, Nitro cars get their names from the fuel needed to power these 4000bhp monsters, a mixture that’s usually 85–90% nitromethane and 10–15% methanol. Nitromethane is usually used with rich air–fuel mixtures because it provides power even in the absence of atmospheric oxygen. When rich air–fuel mixtures are used, hydrogen and carbon monoxide are two of the combustion products. These gases often ignite, sometimes spectacularly so.

In the case of the Nitro Bug, its engine using this highly volatile and unstable fuel is a 500ci (8.5 litre) Hemi V8 with a 6/71 super charger and a massive 31 gallon a minute nitro fuel pump.

Nitro Bug Funny Car on the strip at Santa Pod raceway.

The Nitro Bug’s performance specs are certainly impressive. It will cover a quarter of a mile in under 6 seconds with a top speed of 260 miles an hour, with a 0 to 100 mph time of less than a second!

But this performance doesn’t come cheaply. A typical race run, with an engine warm up, will use approximately 50 litres of Nitro and a further 15 litres of oil at a cost of £425. The team budget for £500 per run, working out at a running cost of about £100 per second!

Nitro Bug Funny Car on the strip at Santa Pod raceway.

After each race the Nitro Bug returns to the race pits for a service. This normally consists of a full engine strip. The pistons and con rod are replaced with a fresh set. Bearings are checked and also replaced if needed. In addition, the gear box will be removed and a new clutch pack fitted. With 6 crew members working together, this entire procedure takes under 2 hours to complete.

Nitro Bug Funny Car team on the strip at Santa Pod raceway.

As a race team, Andy and Karl’s history in the sport goes back over 30 years competing in nearly every class of drag racing FIA and MSA. The Nitro Bug team take pride in being competitive and professional in all aspects of our motor sport - whether at the racetrack or at static displays where their funny car will always draw a crowd.

Nitro Bug Funny Car on the track at Santa Pod Raceway.

 90% of the racing Nitro Bug will compete at is held at Northamptonshire’s Santa Pod Raceway. Not only is Santa Pod Europe’s Best drag racing facility, there are also massively popular lifestyle events held there in addition to MSA meetings. The Nitro Bug also has some exciting upgrades for the 2024 season; the ignition system is now an MSD44 amp mag with MSD power grid, uprated fuel pump to 31 gallons per minute pump, super charger changes to a SSI deep pocket 6/71, Brad Anderson cylinder heads, new smiley exhaust headers, custom made MHME set back plate, custom-made hat spacer from sponsor Fastec Racing, upgrade on the oil pump to a larger gear set with electrimotion safety set up too.....not forgetting the staggered compression ratio to compliment the new super charger too. All in all some vast improvements and the hopeful return to the track for a superior Nitro Bug performance ' Watch this space.....hear the RAWWWWW !!! 

Cool Flo sponsored Nitro Bug VW funny car

The Nitro Bug team consists of 8 members. All have their individual jobs but volunteer their free time and holidays so we can compete in this sport that we love so much. We are a very family orientated team and encourage members to involve their families and kids to participate.

And not only do they get to enjoy their passion for racing but they also get to do some good at the same time. The Nitro Bug Team’s charity partner Embrace CVoC is a national children’s charity solely focused on delivering emotional, practical and cheer-up support to children and young people, and immediate families, affected by serious crime - including homicide, violent crime and sexual abuse. They offer a range of support for children and their immediate families to help them cope, recover and move on from life-changing trauma. 

It’s something we are all proud to support, make sure you come and meet the team at the Santa Pod Raceway this year. 

More info on Embrace CVoC can be found via

We'd like to thank Julian Hunt Photography

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 Check out the Nitro Bug clothing collection

 Nitro Bug Cool Flo Collab on a blue background

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