Last week we shared with you a little feature on Paul Barnes’ one-off Smart FourTwo minicar that we spotted at the NMCA World Street Finals in Indy, sporting a supercharged 1.5L Toyota engine that produces almost 300 horsepower and pushes the car to quarter-mile runs in the 12-second range. At the time, we tagged it as perhaps the quickest and fastest wheel-driven Smart Car in the world. As it turns out, that isn’t entirely true, as some of our more astute readers pointed out to us.
As evidenced in some video footage shared on YouTube, it would appear that dubious honor belongs to a Smart Car owner in South Africa, of all places. Now to be honest, we weren’t even aware there was organized drag racing in South Africa, so the fact that the world’s quickest anything comes from a place so small on the drag racing radar is quite a surprise.
From what we can surmise from the very basic information displayed in the video intro, the car utilizes a 16-valve, 1600c Toyota 4AGE engine with a turbocharger, which is enough to push it into the low 11-second zone and, as a second video alludes to, possibly runs in the high 10-second range. Of course with that kind of power and torque and such a short wheelbase, this a wheelstanding monster, packing the hoops off the starting line and climbing into the air — Outlaw Radial-style — at the second gear change.
To be fair, the track where this was filmed, the Smile Raceway in the small town Bronkhorstspruit, Gauteng, clearly runs downhill at perhaps a negative 1-2 percent grade, no doubt helping the elapsed time and speed of the little Smart Car. However, we’d be hard pressed to imagine there’s a full second or more gained in doing so. So this may truly be the world’s quickest Smart Car, but like Barry Bonds and the home run record, we’ll just give it an asterisk and wait for someone to top it.