Nitrous oxide, also called laughing gas, has more jobs than just making sure that you don't hurt when you are at your dentist's office. Among other things, nitrous oxide can be used as a racing fuel.
Nitrous oxide is a mix of nitrogen and oxygen. It has two nitrogen atoms for each oxygen atom.
Nitrous Oxide Racing Fuel
Nitric oxide's biggest benefit as a racing fuel is that it gives the engine more oxygen so that it burns better and provides more energy. The way that it does that is that when each nitrous oxide molecule breaks down in the engine, it provides a mix that is about 33% oxygen versus the approximately 21% oxygen that would be found in normal air. That extra oxygen provides more power per engine strike because the spark has the extra combustion from the extra oxygen.
A race car that uses nitrous oxide as a racing fuel doesn't use it continuously. The fuel is used as a power boost or turbo. When the driver needs more power or an extra boost, they can activate the boost by allowing the nitrous oxide to get to the engine for that extra power. This would happen in places like straightaways, on the home stretch, or in a sprint.
Generally, the fuel itself is stored in blue tanks that are attached to the car. The reason for using the blue tanks is so that it doesn't get mixed up with anything else. It also makes it easier for people to be careful with the fuel since they know what it is. This can't be used on just any race car, the engine has to be specially adjusted for the nitrous oxide. That's because the mix needs to be precise and an engine that isn't designed to use nitrous oxide, as well as other fuels, may end up destroying itself, which is counter-productive to the whole racing thing. The car would also need to have additional exhaust ports so that it can purge out the nitrous oxide so that the system is ready to go.
There are a number of racing fuels that a race car driver can use. One of those is nitrous oxide. It can give the car an additional speed boost so that the driver has an advantage over the other drivers. It may even be the key to winning the race.