Here's What Happens When You Launch a Rallycross Car in Dish Soap

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You expect that it will be slower. But you wouldn’t expect how much slower it actually is to try to get a car to launch in a giant platter of dish soap.

This is the newest premise of Hoonigan’s science(?) show Scumbag Labs, which they’re able to pull off because there’s a Hoonigan race team and on the Hoonigan race team you’ll find the fastest-launching road racing cars in existence. We’re talking about rallycross cars, in this case the Ford Focus RS RX driven by Steve Arpin.


It’s a useful vehicle to have for this experiment, as it has all-wheel drive, a good 650 horsepower and can get to 60 miles an hour before two seconds are up. If anything will have a shot at getting out of its own way while on a vehicular slip-n-slide, it’s this thing.

And still Arpin himself guesses he’ll be slowed down by a solid 212 percent. Others on the crew expect less.


But Arpin ends up about four times slower on the slick stuff than not, proving that, uh. Well. I don’t know exactly what this proves. You can have all the power in the world and what really matters is traction? Soap is slippery? Unimportant. What’s interesting is to see how the car reacts to tractionlessness, totally happily spinning its tires, enough to even be able to get into sixth gear at a near standstill.


In any case, it’s a fun idea, and could work with some more experimentation. How much soap is needed to handicap a rallycross car such that it matches the exact speed of, say, something with one horsepower? To what degree can traction be accounted for in speed?

I don’t know, I’m not a scientist, I just enjoy watching a turbo car shoot fire.