Going fast never gets old, and neither, it seems, does Don Garlits. At 82 years of age, the legendary drag racing pioneer still feels the need for speed and the desire to break new ground and records on the track. Now, his "Quest for 200 MPH" in an electric dragster is entering the final stages as the finishing pieces of the car come together.

You may remember that the car, dubbed Swamp Rat 37, took its first trip down the asphalt a little over a year ago. A lot has happened since then, and now the digger – a term used for a rail-framed dragster – is clad in black bodywork with a sweet red strip and fitted with an awesome rear wing spoiler.

It also boasts no fewer than six 7.5-inch DC motors lashed together to suck the amps from the High Tech Systems custom, new-for-2014, lithium polymer battery through a trio of Zilla motor controllers. We're not sure how much the power the setup can handle, but if it's anywhere near the 1500 kW (2012 horsepower) that the LiPo pack can put out, we think Garlits should have no trouble achieving his goal.

The plan now calls for sub-200 mph runs to begin in early Spring, with the wick getting eventually turned up sometime this summer. You can keep up with the project through its Facebook page and follow them on Twitter. Scroll below to check out the latest official press release for more details.
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GARLITS GETS ON THE GRID WITH SR-37 2014 MOTOR INSTALLATION

SR-37, the Quest for 200 MPH on Batteries Dragster, is being configured with its own 1.5 megawatt power grid for 2014. At the famed Don Garlits Museum of Drag Racing in Ocala, FL, a technical team from Lawless Industries (Poland, OH) has outfitted SR-37 with a large battery-powered motor system befitting the largest name in drag racing sport.

Lawless Industries, using (6) 7.5" series-wound DC motors custom-built by General Electric and donated by Crescent Electric Supply Company (East Dubuque, IL), carefully modified the motor package for drag strip use by SR-37. Motors are tuned with a splined shaft for high torque output, internal motor wiring and insulation improved for high load, brush timing advanced to synchronize the 6-pack, and the package rigorously unison-tested prior to assembly into the dragster. The completed Lawless V-6 electric motor assembly has been final-fitted into the SR-37 digger's rear engine motor compartment and engaged to the Goethe Enterprises driveline directly behind. Motor control for Big Daddy is provided by Manzanita Micro "Zilla" controllers. The entire motor package is engineered so that each motor can be driven by over 200 horsepower for a 200 MPH+ 6-second run down the asphalt strip.

The distinctive side pods of SR-37 will conceal the source of the massive power. A one-off custom high voltage multi-cell Lithium Polymer battery system engineered by Derek Barger/HighTech Systems LLC of Colorado will produce 1500 kilowatts (1.5 megawatts) of instantaneous launch energy for the digger, a total power source of over 2000 HP! The array is comprised of (4) packs, (2) per side pod, and operates at a peak voltage of 420V. Total battery power weight is 500 pounds, about the same as a fully dressed Top Fuel engine. The entire battery array can be fully recharged and ready for the next run in as little as 5 minutes.

The SR-37 Quest for 200 MPH on Batteries Dragster has it all: Big Daddy Don Garlits, 1500 kilowatts, over 2000 horsepower, starting line launch times nearly as quick as a Top Fuel dragster, energy cost per run-about 25 cents.

The team hopes to commence spring testing soon with a build-up to full sub-200 mph 1/4 mile runs. The summer event schedule for record runs is being developed and will be announced during the test program.

Please stay tuned to our www.facebook.com/questfor200mphonbatteries and www.twitter.com/questfor200 for an announcement soon on our kickstarter.com launch that will allow drag racing and EV enthusiasts around the world to be a part of this exciting BEV technology project.

About the "Quest for 200 MPH on Batteries" Dragster:

The Quest Dragster is designed and constructed to be the first battery-electric dragster to exceed 200 mph on a ¼ mile drag strip. The goal is to accomplish this speed mark in 2014 with our driver, the legendary "Big Daddy" Don Garlits. 2014 marks the 50th anniversary of Garlits' historic first official 200 mph pass in 1964. The dragster will be powered by a 1500 kilowatt array of lithium polymer (LiPo) batteries producing an equivalent horsepower rating of over 2000 HP. The Quest dragster has already been launch-tested by "Big Daddy" Don Garlits with early versions of the LiPo battery-power packs and electric motor/controller systems.

The Quest for 200 MPH on batteries dragster was built by Brad Hadman, created by Mike Gerry, art direction by Kenny Youngblood, car and logo graphics by Eric Reyes, print graphics by Tommy Naccarato, LiPo batteries by HighTech Systems LLC, and motors by Lawless Industries.

http://www.garlits.com/batteryCar.html

About co-owners "Big Daddy" Don Garlits, chassis builder Brad Hadman, and Quest Dragster creator Mike Gerry:

"Big Daddy" Don Garlits of Ocala, FL is considered as the father of organized drag racing. He began racing in 1950 and scored his first major victory in 1955. His first NHRA National event came in Top Fuel at the 1963 Winternationals in Pomona, California. His legendary career includes 17 World Championships; 10 AHRA, 4 IHRA, 3 NHRA as well as 8 NHRA US Nationals Top Fuel final victories.

Chassis builder Brad Hadman of Tacoma, WA has been constructing dragster chassis for nearly 40 years. Brad is widely regarded as the industry leader in modern dragster chassis design and fabrication. Brad Hadman has produced more Top Fuel Championship cars than any other chassis builder worldwide, 59 and counting. Brad's customer list reads like a "who's-who" of drag racing history.

Mike Gerry of Las Vegas, NV created the Quest BEV Dragster project. In 2001 Mike produced a custom battery-electric dragster to herald drag racing legend Darrell Gwynn's return to the US Nationals. Mike fabricated the battery dragsters for and promoted the 2011 Darrell Gwynn vs. Don Garlits "Match Races for a Cause" in support of the Darrell Gwynn Foundation and Don Garlits Museum of Drag racing.

About the Don Garlits Museum of Drag Racing:

The Don Garlits Museum of Drag Racing Inc. is a tourist complex in Ocala, FL. It enshrines the history of Don Garlits and his hand-built black "Swamp Rat" dragsters. Car exhibits are combined with period memorabilia, Big Daddy's numerous racing awards, as well as extensive presentations of the history of the sport of drag racing. The Museum includes a gift shop selling a large selection of Garlits- and drag racing-related books, clothing, models, and videos. http://www.garlits.com/

About Lawless Industries:

Lawless Industries specializes in high efficiency electric drive systems for vehicles of all types as well as the design and manufacture of parade float chassis for internationally prominent theme parks and parade events. Lawless has been the industry leader in specialized float-motion chassis design for over 20 years. Owner Shawn Lawless has adapted their knowledge of EV power drives to the very specialized world of high performance and custom battery-electric vehicles, developing the record-setting Lawless Electric Rocket drag bike and numerous other designs. Lawless-powered vehicles have appeared on episodes of American Chopper and Top Gear. http://www.paradefloats.com/

About HighTech Systems LLC:

HighTech Systems LLC of Colorado has been engineering and fabricating EV battery systems for well over a decade. Stepping from carbon-fuel electronic/emissions systems engineer to the truly high tech world of EV racing, HTS principal Derek Barger has developed high performance battery power systems for such racing teams as Drayson, Harley Davidson, Eric Buell, Chip Yates, and Earnhardt Ganassi. He has also engineered power systems for the record setting battery-electric drag racing vehicles of the KillaCycle, the KilleJoule LSR Steamliner, and the Lawless Electric Rocket among many others. HTS also manufactures EV battery-specific test stand and welding equipment. http://hightechsystemsllc.com/



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    • 1 Second Ago
  • 16 Comments
      GreenDriver
      • 2 Days Ago
      I've never heard of his battery supplier, High Performance Systems. Does anyone have any info on them? I guess DC motors make sense for drag racing where your not worried about regen and if one breaks down they're cheaper to repair or replace.
        paulwesterberg
        • 2 Days Ago
        @GreenDriver
        Black current also uses a DC motor: http://www.electric-vehiclenews.com/2011/06/0-60mph-in-16-seconds-electric-powered.html
        Domenick
        • 2 Days Ago
        @GreenDriver
        Actually, it's High Tech Systems (my mistake, which I've now corrected), which is run by Derek Barger. They build custom, high-performance packs. http://www.hightechsystemsllc.com/
          GreenDriver
          • 2 Days Ago
          @Domenick
          Ok, thanks. I have heard of them. They've built a lot of racing battery packs using A123 cells including the KillaCycle and White Zombie. Interesting that they're using pouch cells for this application. I would imagine the pack weighs a lot less without all those metal cylinders.
        2 wheeled menace
        • 2 Days Ago
        @GreenDriver
        DC motors are cheap / easy to control, and mass produced. That's basically why they're used here. It's unfortunate that at the car scale, AC induction, or at the very least, BLDC, is not common componentry. More power could be made per pound, for sure ..
      harleridr
      • 2 Days Ago
      I am wondering if these motors are brushless
        Domenick
        • 2 Days Ago
        @harleridr
        No, they are DC motors, so they do have brushes. They have been specially prepared for this type usage, (by Lawless industries) and so I imagine they have special hard carbon brushes in them.
      Actionable Mango
      • 2 Days Ago
      Wow, I can only hope I'm still active when I'm 82.
        brotherkenny4
        • 2 Days Ago
        @Actionable Mango
        I swear he looks just like he did 40 years ago.
          Letstakeawalk
          • 2 Days Ago
          @brotherkenny4
          Time dilation. He spends so much time at high speed, that he actually ages more slowly than the rest of us. Science!
      SublimeKnight
      • 2 Days Ago
      Why do you need a motor controller in this scenario? Isn't the throttle in a drag race pretty binary? If you need need throttling, there are 6 motors, put a separate contactor on each.
        2 wheeled menace
        • 2 Days Ago
        @SublimeKnight
        I'd say that you need some throttle control when you're pushing 2000 horsepower, otherwise you are going to flip the vehicle and land on your head... :)
        BipDBo
        • 2 Days Ago
        @SublimeKnight
        No, it is not binary. On a typical drag race car, there is no transmission, only a single gear ratio and a big, multi plate clutch. The skill of the driver is not just stomping on the right foot as soon as the light is green. The skill is in providing the right amount of throttle while slowly dumping the clutch at the right pace. If too much torque is applied to the wheels, the rubber will break traction (peel out) which is slower and causes loss of control. Too little torque, and you loose the race. It's a razor's edge. If there is a clutch on this car, it will be the same. If it's just direct geared, as I expect, driving it will be simpler, but a lot of skill will still be required to ride that edge of breaking traction.
          paulwesterberg
          • 2 Days Ago
          @BipDBo
          Electric motors are easy to coordinate without mechanical linkages and only gear ratio reductions. You would think that you could create a faster drag vehicle that was AWD because the front wheels could be used to increase traction. Simple internet searching pulled up this: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Shepherd-Racing/19738257875?v=info Fastest AWD drag car in the world: 7.70 @191mph! I bet the drive-train in the car above could destroy that record if it was AWD.
      Letstakeawalk
      • 2 Days Ago
      Don Garlits. With an "s". Can we not even get the name of a legendary drag racer correct?
        Domenick
        • 2 Days Ago
        @Letstakeawalk
        Thanks for pointing that out. Fixed. It's amazing what you miss,even after reading something a dozen times, or so.
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