Power Racing: Grown humans stuffed into teeny-tiny cars (who aren’t Shriners)

Power Racing: Grown humans stuffed into teeny-tiny cars (who aren’t Shriners)

I’m not at the Faire. I’m home in my stuffy, humid home office in Virginia, wishing I was in Detroit, hanging out with my maker peeps and knocking back the Tschunks. But from this distance, scanning Flickr, FB, Twitter, etc. for signs of Motor City maker life, I’m getting certain impressions of what’s going on there. And one thing fairgoers seem to be getting a huge kick out of is the Power Racing Series, put on by the Chicago-based hackerspace Pumping Station: One. What is the PRS? The above pics should tell you most of what you need to know, but here’s a snippet from their website:

Why Am I Reading This?
You are an ambitious and aspiring Hacker/Maker/Whats-a-space that feels the need to go to Maker Faire only to make an impression with the public by “competing” with other Hackerspaces in tiny, heavily modified child’s toy cars.

Wait, What is This?
The Power Racing Series (PPPRS) is an event where Hacker/Whateverspaces turn those toys cars that everyone wanted but only stupid Brad from down the street owned (even though everyone hated him), into highly competitive sort-of racing machines. Teams are allowed quite a few liberties (motors, batteries) but we also made a few restrictions so you masochistic engineers can pleasurably cry yourselves to sleep at night. You have $500 to do this with (aside from safety equipment, cause we don’t want to mop you up either). You also compete in three events, and you’ll have to do more than just drive fast (re: be entertaining) to win points. After all, it’s not like we want an actual race to break out. Oh and it is rather unsafe, so you’ll sign a waiver. You built it, so we knew you’d understand

From yesterday’s tweets, and some of the pics, it looked like they had a grand ol’ (teeny-tiny) time. Today, there’s a final qualifying round at 9:45am-10:30am, and at 1-3pm, there’s the Finale: The Endurance Race.

Check out their awesome Power Racing Series Guidebook [PDF]. It’s hysterical. Witness:

How Aggressive Can We Be?
Let’s be reasonable here, we act the way you act. If you want to rough it up, beat and bang, we’ll bring some hurt. If you continue to throw a fit on the field, we’ll make you drive Americar from last year’s Team Unicorn USA. Americar is a Little Tikes Hummer H2 painted red white and blue, goes slower than your grandma reading a take-out menu and blasts Born in the USA. In MIDI. Don’t make us use Americar.

Power Racing Series website

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Gareth Branwyn is a freelance writer and the former Editorial Director of Maker Media. He is the author or editor of over a dozen books on technology, DIY, and geek culture. He is currently a contributor to Boing Boing, Wink Books, and Wink Fun. His free weekly-ish maker tips newsletter can be found at garstipsandtools.com.

View more articles by Gareth Branwyn


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