The Power Racing Series (PPPRS), where grown men and women ride around on souped up toy cars (like the pink Power Wheels Jeep shown above) is gearing up for another season. The phenomenon, mostly centered around the Midwestern U.S. hackerspace scene, has been around since 2009 and seen an impressive growth every year since then.
I asked Jim Burke, founder of the series, to update us on what to expect from the new season:
The Power Racing Series is undergoing some expansion this year. We’ll be attending Kansas City in June, Detroit in July and we’ll have an awesome night race for our season finale at Maker Faire Chicago in Evanston! Our championship is now decided by a “best 2 out of 3” so teams that wish to compete in all three races will have the points from their best weekends allotted towards the championship while smaller teams who could only make some of the races can still enter 2 events and be competitive.
There will also be some additions to our current race lineup. Our drag race will now feature an unlimited modded Nerf gun target shoot. Teams will be required to shoot targets with a Nerf gun as they drag down the straight. Whomever hits all of their targets and crosses the line first wins.
Our 75 minute endurance race will now also be a relay race. Teams will be required to switch drivers every 15 minutes. Mayhem will take place in the pits as each team member, large or small, will have to race their machine. This year not only will we have a podium, but also opening ceremonies for the hackerspaces. So far its the usual suspects but there’s still time for hackerspaces to sign up.
New Rules and Trophies
The PPPRS awards points on what rank you finish, but also when you impress the crowd with your elite hacker style, known in PPPRS as Moxie. However, 2012 sees a new change in how Moxie is handled. Jim breaks it down:
This year our Moxie points for crowd performance will be over double the value as last year, so teams that aren’t the fastest out there will have a better shot at the title than ever before.
Trophies awarded include the Tesla Cup, the grand prize of the PPPRS, as well as the Moxie Cup, which rewards style, and the Chapman Cup for those who score well in the position competition. There is also a few assorted prizes like the Crash & Burn, who flame out spectacularly.
The 2012 Competition
The PPPRS site has a listing of the participating teams, but here are some highlights:
The hackerspace that created the PPPRS is still very active in leading the series. Check out their throwdown as they try to lure non-participating spaces Arch Reactor, Freeside Atlanta, Workshop 88, Quad Cities Co-Lab, and NYC Resistor into the fray. It sounds like they’ll be gunning for the Moxie Cup with their Blues Brothers impression. It’s golden!
The Hack Factory
Twin Cities’ original hackerspace, the Hack Factory is busting out a new whip this year, the pink Jeep pictured at the top of this post. They’ve also worked out some of the bugs from Car 612, which featured backward steering that the team hadn’t been able to fix in time for last year’s Detroit Maker Faire race. Good luck to Videoman, Swinkdaddy and the others on the team! (photo by Anne Petersen)
Karen and Ted of team i3Detroit released the above video showing off their cool factor. Are they also making a run for the Moxie Cup?
The reigning PPPRS World Champions, Madison’s Sector 67 seems ready to continue their dominance. According to Jim they’re bringing two new cars to 2012’s races, one built for speed and one for Moxie. (pic by Dan Silvers)
Tom Gralewicz’s nigh-legendary Pink Trike (pic by Pete Prodoehl) broke in half its first race, but quickly returned to the fray. Jim updates:
Last year he retired from racing and vowed to return as a constructor. So far nobody has seen what he is working on, but if it is anything like the Pink Trike it will be a masterpiece.
Did I miss your team? Leave an update in comments! — JB
Jim finished up by saying he’d love to see more participation by spaces new to the PPPRS. Are you itching to join the PPPRS? Build a car and do it! Check out the Power Racing Series site and find all the information and rules you need to participate.