Run What Ya Brung

RWYB Guides

Learn all about Run What Ya Brung at Santa Pod Raceway with these RWYB guides.

Watch A Run What Ya Brung Video Guide:

A Beginners Guide to RWYB

What is RWYB?

RWYB stands for “Run What Ya Brung” and refers to public test days when Santa Pod is open to anyone with a driving licence to run their car or motorcycle down the track.

RWYB is as simple or scientific as you want it to be, and you can use these days either to just have fun with your friends or as serious test days, whether your vehicle is for road or track.

Your mission is to accelerate from a standing start and cover the 1/4 mile in the shortest possible time. A full performance printout after each run will show your reaction time, speed, and elapsed time as well as a host of incremental measurements.

What Do I Need To Have A Go?

What Do I Need To Do?

  1. Visit the Signing On Office located at the base of the control tower near the startline on foot. You will need your driving licence and signing on fee (cash or card). You'll be asked to fill in a form.
  2. Check your vehicle is well maintained and safe. Tyres, oil, steering, coolant and brakes are important. Also check your tyres and arches are not muddy.
  3. Move your Vehicle to the back of the queue in the "fire up road". Bikers can usually push past to the separate queue for bikes.
  4. When you are called forward by the marshal, close you windows and sunroof fully, and buckle your seatbelt. Bikers should pull down visors or goggles. Please DO NOT activate liquid spray-bars.
  5. If you wish, attempt a burnout in the water under the tower. This will clean and warm your tyres. 4WD cars will not burnout unless equipped to do so.
  6. Roll forward to the Start Line when the marshal indicates. The start line is not actually marked on the track (because it would get scrubbed out very quickly), but the best way to spot it is to look for a gap in the red boarder next to the track.
  7. The first pair of lights on the "starting tree" marked Pre Staged will light when you are nearly in position.
  8. Roll a few inches further forward and the next pair of lights marked Staged will light also.
  9. When you and your opponent are both staged and the track is clear, the three orange bulbs will light and then the Green. Now is the time to go!
  10. Accelerate as hard as you can without spinning the wheels too much. The last timing beam is under the gantry exactly 1/4 of a mile from the start line.
  11. Slow down gently once you have crossed the finish, and keep going until you reach the first Turn Off Point on the left. Check your mirrors for your opponent before turning off and heading back on yourself. Do NOT turn around if you miss the turn-off point, keep going and take the next exit on the left. Drive slowly and carefully once you have left the track.
  12. You can collect Timing Slips from the signing on office at the startline tower. These are free to collect as soon as your run is complete. If in doubt at any point, simply look to the marshals for direction. Please do not smoke or use mobile phones when on the track.

5 RWYB Tips for a great ET:

Tips for bikers:

An Advanced Guide to RWYB

This factsheet is designed for those who have mastered the basics of Run What Ya Brung drag racing, and are looking to expand their understanding of drag racing and improve their times.

Safety Fast

Most experienced drag racers with a brain between their ears will tell you that getting your priorities right when building fast cars is very important. Make a car safe first, and fast later. Generally, you should follow this order of priorities when preparing your car for use on the track. Do not make the mistake of building a quick car that is dangerous. Although accidents are rare at Santa Pod, and safety provision at the track is second to none, accidents can and do happen. At speeds of over 100mph, traction and aerodynamic factors can change rapidly and lead to accidents. However, by building a car with safety in mind at all times, both you and your vehicle can escape serious injury.

Some people are happy to spend thousands of pounds on performance upgrades for the engine, only to find they can't afford a few hundred pounds for a roll-cage. These people may one day regret that choice, so make sure it isn't you! Generally, if your car is able to go under 12 seconds, you should SERIOUSLY consider a roll-cage. It is also worth stating at this stage that some cages are only for show! Make sure you get yours installed by a skilled race car builder, not an aftermarket parts man.

Parachutes are worth considering on sub-11 second cars too. Even if your brakes are the best on the market and your car is well maintained, they will do nothing in a slide, puncture, or brake failure situation. Parachutes will help slow you down whatever the wheels are doing, and can even be used in an emergency to help straighten a car that is in a slide or a weave. Many people have saved cars from serious damage by a quick tug on the 'chutes.


The staging lights on the Christmas tree are there to show the position of your front wheels. A small advantage can be gained by "deep-staging" which is where your front-wheels are slightly further forward than the normal "staged" position, and only the lower pair of staging lights are lit. A skilled racer can improve their reaction times by cutting the distance the wheels have to travel before being clear of the staging sensors. This is useful for bracket racers and heads-up racers alike, since it allows drivers and riders to have a better idea of the position of the wheels. An increased risk of tripping a red-light is the trade off though, so it may take practice to find any advantage from deep-staging.

Get Prepared

Some people want to know how cars and bikes can run fast ETs after having sat on the startline with a green light for ages. For example, the Fireforce jetcar can sit on the line for 3 seconds after getting the green light, and still run a sub-six-second pass! Well, the answer is not that it did the ¼ mile in 3 seconds, but the timing system doesn't start counting until the staging sensors have been cleared. This allows the casual Run What Ya Brung'er to get themselves fully prepared on the line without having to worry about reaction times distorting their vehicle's performance.

So, if you are not interested in reaction times, but are interested in performance, take your time on the startline to get the revs right before dropping the clutch. Panic-free performance! Remember, in a real race situation, your reaction time is added to your ET to find the winner, so reaction time becomes critical. If you are serious about racing, you will need loads of attempts at improving both your RT and ET, and then work on synchronising them to get some really storming runs in.


Different weather conditions can dramatically affect the performance of a high-powered machine. Cold conditions will make your tyres harder, and the track surface will also be harder and less grippy. There is less abrasive traction at Santa Pod than on a normal road, and racers rely on rubber-on-rubber grip which is greatly affected by temperature. If you are finding that you are suffering from wheelspin, you are wasting precious power and actually making matters worse by adding little "marbles" of rolled-up rubber between your tyres and the track surface. If you are able to adjust turbo/nitrous boost, you may find it advantageous to turn down the power in these conditions.

On the other hand, really hot weather can cause lower-powered vehicles to "bog-down" as the tyres suddenly grip at the start. This will make your engine revs drop right down into a zone with less power and torque. This can be avoided by carefully releasing the clutch and making a deliberate attempt to bring the revs up in a controlled manner. You will know when you have got it right, because the vehicle will propel you forward in a linear manner with no jerking or "chattering".

A simple way to adjust the "gearing" of your vehicle is to change the wheels! Smaller wheels will give the effect of lower gearing, and larger wheels will give the effect of taller gearing. Don't be afraid to muck about with wheel and suspension settings to achieve the ideal stance. Front-wheel drive cars benefit from having the back end jacked-up and the front dropped, and rear-wheel drive cars benefit from having the rear-end dropped and the front end raised slightly.

Huge benefits can be gained from using the right tyre and wheel combinations. Low profile tyres and huge rims might look pretty, but rarely do they provide a performance enhancement on the drag strip. Try fat low pressure tyres and small wheels on the driven hubs, and skinny lightweight wheels on the coasting wheels. It may look weird, but this even works on FWD & 4WD cars.

On motorcycles, a less aggressive steering head angle will provide increased stability and reduce the tendency to wheelie. Some bikes will allow you to raise or lower the forks through the yokes, and this is the easiest way to make this adjustment. A longer swing-arm will achieve similar improvements.

Ladies First

Some racers will never be the first to stage. There isn't really any good reason for this, other than it messes with your opponents head! The theory is that if you are the last person to get staged, you can see your opponents positioning on the start line, and you can approach the line in your own time. In practice however, all it does make your opponent impatient and more likely to make a mistake!

Download a Sign on Form

Save time on the day and Download a Sign on Form beforehand.