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I read this about 15 yeas ago, maybe more. I believe it was aimed at YA, but it may have been for adults.

In the beginning the main characters are attending an illegal drag race. They've built the car to be powered entirely by NOS, rather than by petrol with a NOS boost. To do this they had to make the fuel tank cover every possible inch of the car, including the body shell.

The race begins by and electrified gate gate raising up. Racers can't set off early or they'll get electrocuted. One of the rivals sets of before the gate is fully raised and gets around it by coating the car in rubber.

During the race (or shortly after) the place get raided by some sort of police/authorities. I can't remember if it was a sort of totalitarian state or if it was just because they were criminals but I believe it was close to the former.

During the raid the authorities have some sort of tank vehicle. The protagonist has a gun that can disable vehicles, but as the tank is shielded it is ineffective. However they manage to fire it into the tank barrel and it worked. Another character explains that the tank barrel is normally shielded, but the shield is lowered for a split second before the tank is about to fire. And the protagonist must have fired at exactly the right time in order to get the shot in before the tank fired.

It was set in the near future. That's everything I can remember.

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  • This question would be improved by going through the checklists here; How to ask a good story-ID question?
    – Valorum
    Apr 25, 2019 at 15:31
  • @Valorum I've done that. Clarified hat it was a book but I can't remember any other details unfortunately.
    – Moogle
    Apr 25, 2019 at 16:18
  • Did you read it in English? Who were the main characters? Was the violence described in detail? Was the entire book mostly about the race or was that a side-plot? Was there any sex in the book or notable love-interest? Was the shield sci-fi or purely mechanical?
    – Valorum
    Apr 25, 2019 at 16:29
  • What is NOS????
    – user14111
    Apr 26, 2019 at 3:37

1 Answer 1

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The Supernaturalist by Eoin Colfer.

The book is a YA novel from 2004. It's set in the future, and is mostly about a boy from an orphanage finding out about supernatural parasites, but the drag race scene is the bit that really stood out to me.

This passage describes the nitrous racer (a stolen prototype, hence the raid):

Generally drag racers fed a nitrous oxide mixture into the regular fuel for that extra burst of speed when it was needed. But this thing actually used heated nitrous oxide as the regular fuel. Because nitrous was used up so quickly, the entire car had been converted into a fuel tank. Every strut and panel was filled with the explosive mixture. Nobody really knew how to drive a car like this.

A previous question about this book has a lot more detail on the rest of the plot.

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