We’re happy to announce that the Power Racing Series is back for 2016! If you’re not familiar with the Power Racing Series, it’s a challenge to build an electric vehicle (and race it) for under $500. You start with a kid-sized Power Wheels car that goes about 5mph per hour and you rebuild it into a lean, mean, racing machine capable of carrying one full-sized adult human at speeds up to 25mph! Along the way you’ll have to make decisions about what to spend money on… do you want really good batteries and cheap tires, or a nice motor controller but under-powered motors? It’s all a trade-off, and many times crazy solutions come into play.
While the series and the car building challenge is fun, there’s also some serious engineering involved. Teams typically end up building a new frame, mounting motors, figuring out how steering works, and adding brakes that will pass the brake test for safety. (Don’t worry, while it might sound a little dangerous, safety is taken very seriously, and all cars must pass a tech inspection and a brake test. All drivers must wear helmets, and there is no budget applied to safety items like an emergency stop mechanism that each car is required to have.)
None of the teams take things too seriously out on the track though, and you generally see people smiling and having a good time while doing laps in these tiny vehicles. Jim and Patrick from the Power Racing Series do a great job of calling the races and you pretty much feel like you’re at a big-time auto race. Oh, and the cars tend to break. A lot. New teams often spend as much time in the pits as on the track. We’ve see wheels fall off and roll away, motors break loose from their mounts, and sometimes there’s a stray chain or pool noodle on the track. It’s all good.
We’ll have a full race schedule at Maker Faire Milwaukee, with Saturday featuring qualifying laps and a Moxie skit, followed by two sprint races. (The Moxie skit
forces allows teams to show off their cars and drivers in an attempt to impress the crowd for votes. Sometimes slower teams can win just by racking up Moxie points for the weekend.)
On Sunday is a grueling 75 minute Endurance Race. The sprint races are typically less than 20 minutes, but the Endurance pushes these tiny cars to their limits. Often motors overheat, wires catch on fire, and tires blow out. Since many of the teams consist of people who like fixing things, this is all part of the fun.
In the coming weeks we’ll be highlighting some of the teams traveling to Milwaukee to race. Keep an eye on the blog!