Supercharged F-150 Answers Whether It Is Faster To Race With Tailgate Up Or Down

You'd think that lowering the tailgate would make a pickup faster, but this supercharged F-150 will prove it one way or the other.


Boosted F-150 answers the age-old question of whether it is better to race your supercharged pickup with the tailgate up or down.

We’ve seen a few of Boosted’s videos he mostly just uses his sleeper F-150 to mop the floor with various muscle cars at the drag strip. However, occasionally he also has some educational content to share with aspiring pickup racers.

Today we examine the myth of tailgates. It’s a tricky subject on pickup trucks since you have several options. First, you can put a cover on the bed to eliminate this weird open section that would surely increase your overall drag. Second, you can put the tailgate down, and allow air to freely flow out the bed. And third, you can do what most people do and keep the tailgate up to prevent the contents of your bed from sliding out the back of your truck.

But which one is best in a drag race? To find out, Boosted performs three tests in each of these possible configurations. The results might surprise you.

Test one: bed covered with the tailgate up. The times here are impressive for any vehicle but are truly fearsome in Boosted’s 900-plus-horsepower supercharged F-150. Roughly 10.5 seconds at 133 mph is a time few cars can beat, but could it be faster with the cover off?

Test two: cover off, tailgate up. Counter-intuitively, this configuration is even faster than before at 10.315 seconds at 134 mph is a vast improvement over racing with the cover on despite the fact the tailgate appears to act as a giant air brake.

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And test three: cover off, tailgate down. This test is slightly better than having the cover on, but still not as good as with the tailgate up, running 10.35 seconds at 133.5 mph on average.

So what gives? Well, we get a pretty good explanation of why driving with the tailgate up is the fastest courtesy of Engineering Explained. With the tailgate up, a pocket of air is bubbled behind the cab that prevents air moving over the cab from striking the lifted tailgate, reducing overall drag. With the tailgate down or a cover on, that bubble doesn’t exist and the cab produces a vortex of air that increases drag.

Of course, it’s better seeing that in action from the back of a supercharged F-150.

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