Maker Faire Detroit 2010: Power Racing Series, as grassroots as it gets [w/Video]

Power Racing Series – Click above for high-res image gallery

One of the highlights of this weekend's Detroit Maker Faire was the Michigan premiere of a new grassroots racing event: the Power Racing Series. The brainchild of Jim Burke, the Power Racing Series is like LeMons in that the machines have budgets limited to just $500 not including safety equipment. Unlike LeMons, the Power Racing Series vehicles are based on Fisher-Price Power Wheels or Little Tykes toys that have been modded to support the mass of adult drivers and larger 12-volt lead-acid car batteries.

This weekend's competition features three individual events including a drag race, a 15-lap road race and a one-hour enduro on Sunday afternoon. The drag race was won by Royce Pipkins, president of the Milwaukee Maker Space, in his Grave Digger. When the 15-lap event began on Saturday afternoon, the #3 car built by the crew at the I3 Detroit hacker space clearly had more speed than any other vehicle. Unfortunately, about halfway through the race, the car ground to a halt. A key connecting the rear wheel to the axle had sheared the soft metal of the axle. The crew repeatedly tried pounding in new keys, but the car would only run another lap or two before running into trouble. Ultimately Pipkins had the durability and speed to finish 15 green-flag laps before anyone else. Look for the Power Racing Series at a parking lot near you soon.

Update: On Sunday afternoon, the Power Racers went back to the track for the one hour enduro and the extra distance took its toll on the field. Royce Pipkins and his Grave Digger pulled into the pits after 35 minutes with two burned out motors.The i3 Detroit also came at about 40 minutes and had to do some rewiring to bypass a failed motor controller. Meanwhile the OmniCorp Detroit team motored on to complete the most laps. The I3 Detroit machine ran third on the track but accumulated enough Moxie Points from the crowd to finish first overall and capture the 2010 Power Racing Series championship. Check out some video highlights after the jump.

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Photos by Sam Abuelsamid / Copyright ©2010 AOL

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