How does a NASCAR stock car transmission work?

Racing and drifting legend Steph Papadakis pulls one apart to show us how it works.

Kyle Hyatt Former news and features editor
Kyle Hyatt (he/him/his) hails originally from the Pacific Northwest, but has long called Los Angeles home. He's had a lifelong obsession with cars and motorcycles (both old and new).
Kyle Hyatt

Modern Formula Drift cars have way more in common with modern stock cars (think NASCAR) than they do with the drift cars of even a few years ago. This means that they are putting out NASCAR-stock-car-like power and so many teams have begun using the incredibly stout four-speed manual transmissions that you'd find in cars on the banks of Daytona or Talladega.

These four-speed manual transmissions are incredibly simple and robust, given their design brief, but how exactly do they work? What makes them able to stand up to 800-plus horsepower for hours on end when, say, a five-speed Subaru WRX transmission struggles to be reliable with around 300 horsepower?

Racing legend Stephan Papadakis pulls one of these four-speeds apart to show us what it is in their design that makes them so damned strong and easy to service. It's a quick video, but it's a fascinating window into one of the less-known or publicized aspects of race car design.

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