• Image Credit: "Big Daddy" Don Garlits
  • Image Credit: "Big Daddy" Don Garlits
  • Image Credit: "Big Daddy" Don Garlits
  • Image Credit: "Big Daddy" Don Garlits
  • Image Credit: "Big Daddy" Don Garlits
  • Image Credit: "Big Daddy" Don Garlits
A drag racing legends is hoping a rechargeable dragster will bring him a little fountain of youth. "Big Daddy" Don Garlits will race his "Swamp Rat" SR-37 at Florida's Brandenton Motorsports Park on April 30. The goal is to become the first dragster of its kind to break 200 miles per hour on a quarter-mile track.

The 82-year-old Garlits, who first broke the 200 mph mark in 1964 and has 17 drag-racing world championships to his name, will have plenty of help. For starters, his dragster, which has a lithium-polymer battery pack, will have peak power of 1,500 kilowatts, or more than 2,000 horsepower. Garlits also has a team that has been preparing to undertake the "Quest for 200 MPH on Batteries" Dragster for more than two years. Garlits started racing in 1950 and has a museum in his name in Florida. He owns the car along with chassis builder Brad Hadman and Mike Gerry.

Last fall, UK-based Drayson Racing set a land speed record for electric vehicles by hitting a top speed of 205.139 mph over one mile. Drayson broke its own record of 204.185 mph earlier last year, and that broke a record that'd stood since 1974. The Buckeye Bullet EV has topped 300 mph. Check out the Garlits press release below.
Show full PR text

"Big Daddy" Don Garlits and the SR-37 "Quest for 200 MPH on Batteries" EV Dragster will take to the test track at 10am on 4.30.2014 in a private session at Bradenton Motorsports Park in Bradenton, FL. The much-anticipated full systems test of the stunning completed dragster will take place on the recently resurfaced ¼ mile dragstrip of the beautiful and historic Bradenton facility.

The SR-37 team will converge early next week on "Don's Garage" at the world-famous "Don Garlits Museum of Drag Racing" for the final installation of the battery pack and integration of the motors and Manzanita Micro "Zilla" Controllers. Garlits will be joined by battery engineer Derek Barger of HighTech Systems LLC who recently completed the incredible 2014 SR-37 Lithium Polymer battery package. Shawn Lawless of Lawless Industries will be on hand to tune and tweak the 6-pack of GE motors furnished by Crescent Electrical Supply Company. The fully integrated powerplant will produce a peak power of 1500 kilowatts - in excess of 2000HP - and will launch Big Daddy nearly as quickly as a Top Fuel dragster.

In preparation for the test, the 82-year old Garlits brings the project full-circle, "It has been over two years now since the idea for an attempt to reach '200 MPH on Batteries' in a dragster came to mind. Several times the project seemed stalled, but due to the wonderful team effort, we were able to continue. Next week the team and I will travel to the Bradenton Dragstrip with Swamp Rat 37 and wring it out." Garlits was confident on the prospects for the test, "All seems well and I believe we should be able to exceed the 200 MPH mark with ease". And for "Big Daddy's" legion of fans, "Pray for my safety...and some good weather."

Please check facebook.com/questfor200mphonbatteries and twitter.com/questfor200 for updates on this exciting EV 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 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 GE motors by Lawless Industries.


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 the father of professional 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. A true American icon; his Swamp Rat XXX dragster is in the collection of the Smithsonian Institution.

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 Bradenton Motorsports Park:

The Bradenton Motorsports Park facility built in 1974 is known as the winter professional drag racing test strip. This premiere IHRA drag race facility, home of the Snowbird Nationals, is renowned for its record-breaking track surface and beautiful nearby Gulf beaches www.bradentonmotorsports.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 Streamliner, and the Lawless Electric Rocket among many others. HTS also manufactures EV battery-specific test stand and welding equipment. http://hightechsystemsllc.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/

Share This Photo X