Our electric race car “the Dragon” wowed the crowds last week at the Maker Faire in New York City. We’ve been hard at work all summer building the car out of bike parts and steel tubing, engineering a novel tilting chassis that allows the driver to lean into turns, and decorating the body with a fearsome dragon head, flaming tongue, wings, and tail.
We didn’t have time to fully develop the tilting mechanism, and our motors were underpowered compared to the competition, so our car was among the slowest on the track. However, the Power Racing Series has a unique scoring system that allows the audience to award points for “moxie”. Our outrageous appearance, combined with our underdog stature, (and helped by the Hackerscouts throwing candy to the crowd) brought our score to within a few points of first place!
The race is as much about repair as driving. The tiny electric cars are constantly slamming into the curb and each other as they tear around the track. It is up to the pit crew to patch up the cars and get them back in the running. Our car was no exception. For example early our steering column cracked. We were able to borrow a neighbors welder to put it back together. Then a flat tire. Then a motor came loose on its mount. A battery charger broke. And on and on.
And yet we kept going. It was heartening to hear children chanting “Go Dragon!” as the car, hampered by a bent front axle, struggled around the track. And when it was all over, a couple of families came up to us and asked us to autograph their Power Racing posters.
Experience the thrill of seeing the Power Racer racetrack from the point of view of the Dragon:
more photos and videos: